Jill Morrison obituary

Other lives: Mother who wrote a book about the murder of one of her daughters

My mother, Jill Morrison, who has died aged 78, was a remarkable woman who managed to cope with a great tragedy in her life – the murder of one of her daughters – in such a selfless way that she was able to enhance the lives of others.

Born in London to Sally (nee Sprinks) and her husband, Ernest Lanchbery, Jill spent her early years in Zimbabwe.

At 15 she moved back to London, where she attended Pitman’s College and worked as a secretary before marrying Leonard Rydings, who managed cement factories for Blue Circle.

They had four children and although Leonard’s work took the family all round the world, Jill embraced the upheaval, making friends wherever she went. The marriage ended in divorce in 1980. The following year she wed Peter Morrison, an engineer.

In 1988 her second daughter, Alison, was murdered. The man found guilty of the crime was Alison’s husband, Michael, and the terrible event left her three young children without parental care. Despite dealing with their own grief, Jill and Peter took on the care of their grandsons, Thomas, Peter and Ben. Together they sacrificed a huge amount to keep them together, providing them with the love, comfort and security they needed.

Alison would have been proud of the young men they have become, and, despite their early trauma, they claim they had a happy childhood – in large part because of their grandmother’s unconditional love.

When Jill had finally finished parenting two sets of children, she and Peter moved to the Jalon valley, near Alicante, in southern Spain, where they spent 16 happy years.

There she made great efforts to learn the language and made many friends. She was never still and spent much of her time writing. In 2015 she published a book, Memory of a Daughter, about the events surrounding Alison’s death, and in 2016 a novel, The Other Side of Silence, which was followed by two more before her death.

A bowel cancer diagnosis in 2019 slowed her down, but she was still full of energy.

She is survived by Peter, her children, Jenny, Simon and me, and her grandchildren.

Karen Rydings

The GuardianTramp

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