The Gillian Purvis Trust 2004-2021
The Gillian Purvis Trust was established in 2004, to celebrate the life of Gillian Purvis, a witty, well-read, bright and delightful young woman. Gillian, aged 33, tragically died after a fire spread to the flat she shared with her partner, Toby Paterson.
Toby set up the trust to help students in creative fields in which he and Gillian shared an interest, specifically fashion, creative writing and travel for research.
Thanks to many generous donations over the years, the trust has awarded over £55,000 to students, with many going on to great success in their chosen field.
The trust closed in 2021 and this website commemorates its legacy.
About the Trust
The objectives of the Trust were to assist students in their third or final year of undergraduate study, or postgraduate students, studying in an artistic, creative field in Glasgow, by awarding grants known as The Gillian Purvis Award.
Jim and Libby Purvis at Gillian’s cherry blossom tree in Kelvingrove Park 2021
Chaired by Toby Paterson, the Trustees were family members and close friends of Gillian’s: Robert Dallas Gray, Sarah Lowndes (to 2015), Hazel Quinn, Sally Swadel and Anne Ward. The Administrator was Lesley Paterson, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 07780 905802.
Partner organisations who assisted with awards were
- The Glasgow School of Art’s Department of Fashion & Textiles
- The Creative Writing Departments of The University of Glasgow, The University of Strathclyde and The Glasgow School of Art
- The Fashion Business Department of Glasgow Caledonian University
Beyond 2021 the Trust’s legacy is enhanced with the continuing successes of those who received awards from the Trust. Gillian is remembered through this legacy website, her sculptural memorial at the SECC and the cherry blossom tree planted in her memory in Kelvingrove Park.
Supporters and Donors
The initial surge of donations at the memorial service for Gillian in Dunblane Cathedral was followed by contributions in many generous, heartfelt and creative ways that immediately established the Trust and facilitated the presentation of the first award in 2005. That and the many continuing donations from individuals, organisations, trusts and foundations, enabled the Trust to greatly exceed its original modest aspirations and run for seventeen years. There was no formal fundraising campaign and yet voluntary help poured in.
Hazel and friends run the Women's 10K
Blaise Drummond was inspired to paint Gillian’s cherry blossom tree 2005
The Trust’s generous supporters raised funds by running marathons, staging concerts and DJ-ing, piano recitals, donations in lieu of wedding gifts, plant sales and the famous garden teas.
In-kind support came in the form of:
- Design and print services
- Creating and hosting the website
- Preparing and auditing the annual accounts
- Memorial Sculpture, funding, design and installation at SECC
- Tree planting in Kelvingrove Park
- Help to establish the Creative Writing Award
- Judging the various awards
- Hosting, catering and presentations at the 10th Anniversary of the Trust
- Gifts of artworks
Toby, the Trustees and Gillian’s family sincerely thank all who kindly remembered Gillian with their support. Your contributions were the means of honouring her memory through the work of the Trust, providing support for talented students.
See Newsletters for all acknowledgements. There are too many of you generous contributors to mention here.
Over 17 years, around 100 students benefited from a share of £55,000.
Charlotte Horsley, 2009 winner
Eva Joly, 2010 winner
The Gillian Purvis Award
£750 to a fourth year Design student in the Department of Textiles & Fashion, The Glasgow School of Art
|2005||Scott Ramsay Kyle||Embroidery|
*donation from Scott Ramsay Kyle (first winner) for the 10th Anniversary of the Trust raised this award to £1000
The Gillian Purvis Award for travel for primary research
£500 to a third year Design student in the Department of Textiles & Fashion, The Glasgow School of Art
Postcard from Holly Rothwell, 2006 winner
|2006||Holly Rothwell||Kizhi, Moscow|
|2007||Jennifer Groundwater||France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany|
|2009||Emma Shannon||London, Coventry, Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Walsall|
|2010||Kathy Beckett||Sao Paulo|
|2010||Ting Ye||South China|
|2012||Sahrish Shafiq||London and Surrey|
|2014||Christopher Barton||Waldassen, Germany|
|2016||Jessica Butler||London and Barcelona|
|2017||Paula Vogels||West Highland Way and the Hebrides|
|2018||Karin Tokunaga||Norberg and Gothenburg, Sweden|
|2019||Valters Aispurs||Basel, Switzerland|
The Gillian Purvis Award for new writing
£1,500 to a student of creative writing at The University of Glasgow or The University of Strathclyde or The Glasgow School of Art
Liz Lochhead who helped to set up the New Writing Award with Toby Paterson and Fiona Rintoul, 2008. Image courtesy of the Herald and Evening Times.
The Gillian Purvis Degree Show Prize
£1,000 to a new graduate of The Glasgow School of Art for an outstanding work in the Degree Show
Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce selected Romany Dear as 2011 winner
|2010||Lucy Duncombe||Visual Communications|
|2011||Romany Dear||Sculpture & Environmental Art|
|2012||Min Zhong||Textiles & Fashion|
|2013||Chris Silver||Sculpture and Environmental Art|
|2014||Glasgow School of Art Phoenix Bursary Fund*|
|2015||Thomas Wood||Fine Art Photography|
*Following the (first) fire at the Mackintosh Building of The Glasgow School of Art, the Trust made a £1,500 donation towards 3-month residencies offered by national and international institutions for students who had lost their work in the fire.
The Gillian Purvis Travel Bursaries
£500-£1000 to 3rd year students of Fashion Business or Fashion Branding, Glasgow Caledonian University, for international student exchange
|2015||Pinja Salmi||Helsinki Metropolia University, Finland|
|2016||Mhairi Galloway||Iowa State University, USA|
|2016||Samantha Taylor||Helsinki Metropolia University, Finland|
|2017||Eryn McEwan||Brooklyn College, USA|
|2018||Kirsty Binning||California State Long Beach University, USA|
|2018||Bryony Muir||California State Long Beach University, USA|
|2019||Cristiana Janetta||Villaneuva University, Madrid, Spain|
|2019||Erin O’Neil||VIA University College, Denmark|
Celebrating the trust’s original partnership with the Department of Fashion and Textiles at The Glasgow School of Art, residual trust funds were donated to support the graduates of 2022, enabling them to attend and present their work at Fashion Design and Graduate Week in London.
Some success stories
From Scott Ramsay Kyle’s collection, 2014
The Gillian Purvis Award
Scott Ramsay Kyle
Having enjoyed great success in many fields, including fashion and film, Scott continues to produce highly embellished, abstract and figurative, provocative and delicate work. A long time ago when asked what he would spend his Gillian Purvis Award on, he said “You should see the price of sequins!”. Ten years later, commenting on how important the award was for him, he increased the award to £1,000 in celebration of the Trust’s 10th Anniversary.
Catherine Aitken on the opening night of her Degree Show at GSA 2006
From her design studio, furniture and home interior accessories are produced.
Lead Designer, Colour and Materials for Footwear, Puma Group
Produces a wide range of printed fabrics, based on hand-painted designs, supplying studios, fashion and home interior brands.
From her studio in the Highlands, textile designs are produced for commissions, collaborative projects and a range of her own interior and fashion accessories.
Designer and creator of hand woven textiles from her Glasgow studio.
Couture Fashion, mixing vintage themes to create dark, bold and glamorous designs.
Designer at Alex Begg textile mill in Ayr, creating for its own label and working with the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.
Specialises in costume working across theatre, TV and film.
With a fellow weaver set up Glasgow’s first micro mill in 100 years. Commissions have included consultation with the automotive industry and work with clients such as Alexander McQueen and the V&A.
The Gillian Purvis Award for New Writing
Having used her award for a research trip to Berlin, Fiona completed and published her first novel. The Leipzig Affair was extremely well received by reviewers and was serialised on BBC Radio 4.
Now widely recognised as a Scottish novelist, poet, performer, mentor, reviewer and writer of short fiction, Kirsty’s work has been translated into Japanese and Spanish and broadcast on BBC.
Gillian was born on 23 August 1970 to Libby and Jim in Glasgow, close to Kelvingrove Park. She and sister Hazel grew up in Scotland and South Africa, before settling in Dunblane.
Gillian studied English Literature at the University of Glasgow, and worked for many years in the Marketing and PR team at the SECC. Her memorial, funded by close friends and colleagues at the SECC, and designed by Toby Paterson and John Creed, commemorates her work there, and marks the spot where she also used to enjoy feeding the local cats!
Gillian had many interests and some hidden talents. She made her own clothes (always looking fabulous), played the violin, and gained a black belt in Taekwondo, along with her sister Hazel. For the precious years that Gillian and Toby spent together, they enjoyed shared interests, in art and design, films, writing and music. And, not forgetting Coco, Gillian’s beloved cat who shared life with them!
Gillian and Toby travelled together on many trips in the UK and Europe, with Gillian sometimes acting as artist’s assistant when Toby was installing work. By contrast, she loved visits to Toby’s family island cottage in Wester Ross.
The love and admiration for Gillian and ultimate joy in remembering her was manifested in the family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances who filled Dunblane Cathedral for her memorial service. Read at the time by Sally, Gillian’s aunt, the words from Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese, selected by Toby and displayed on the memorial at SECC, echo on:
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things