Dr Sally Beckwith
29th August, 1961-13th February, 2021
If there was ever a woman who fought valiantly for equality and truth, it was Sally Beckwith. As acting chair from before there was even a Luminary entity, Sally saw the potential that each woman at Luminary offered and advocated not just for independence as a charity, but for dignity and making the world a better place. From that moment on, Sally became our fearless Chair of Trustees!
Sally intentionally brought together women from diverse backgrounds and skill-sets to join the board and create a culture full of opportunity, community and growth. Leadership integrity was important to Sally, personally taking the time to grow in knowledge and understanding, advising, and creating a no-nonsense culture when it came to decision making. And, most importantly, these decisions were fuelled by her love for our graduates.
Sally never missed a graduation! Over 10 cohorts, she was always there, ready to rally the troops for an encouraging word, celebrate the many accomplishments from that group, or sample the yummy bakes created by the women. One of her favourites being the Byrek - a fluffy and savoury Albanian pastry. Whenever she visited one of the bakeries, she couldn’t help but grab a slice!
"Sally was always so friendly and graceful, taking the time to encourage us - she felt like home." - Luminary Graduate
Sally loved to learn. Her entrepreneurial heart, public health and occupational therapy interests fuelled her passion for research and human rights. As a potter, baker and crafter, she also invited the world around her into creativity and imagination, balancing the importance of education and the beauty of art. One minute she’s secured funding for lift accessibility at Luminary’s Camden location and the next she’s created the “12 Days of Luminary” song for our Christmas party! These are just some of the many memories of Sally we are all cherishing.
Over the years, Sally tirelessly invested in the Luminary team, not holding back in challenging perspectives and fiercely growing them in ways only hindsight can reveal. Many of them shared how she had been preparing them to manage without her, challenging them to pre-empt her concerns and questions and saying that if they could, “then my work is done”. With her strong ability to step back and reflect before advising, the “What would Sally do?” motto has developed amongst our team.
For Sally, her advocacy and fiercely protective nature over the women of Luminary Bakery and its mission wasn’t just about work, but part of who she was. She lived and breathed creating spaces for people to learn, grow and reach their potential. Upon reflection, the board of trustees said,
“Sally did what she set out to do as Chair of our Luminary Board - she brought a team together around Luminary. What she built is sustainable, and it’s up to us to carry it on.”
Sally’s last tweet read, “This is exactly how I feel about being Chair of Trustees @LuminaryBakery what a complete privilege” in reference to Kate Jarman’s tweet, “… there’s nothing boring about the stuff that keeps the people working in organisations and people on the receiving end of what those organisations do safe. Governance done well empowers everyone.”
Sally was not just our Chair of Trustees. She was our friend and family. We come together with her loved ones and mourn the loss of such a beautiful and giving soul, and celebrate the legacy that she has left behind.
At Luminary, we are all about offering opportunities for women to reach their potential, and Sally embodied this.
We end with this prayer,
“Enduring God, as we mourn the loss of our beloved Sally, fill our hearts with the blazing light she shone for Luminary, renew our strength with her courage and perseverance, and help us feel her continuing love, through your love, and our love for one another, as we take the next steps together. Amen.”
Written on behalf of the Luminary family by Kaila H. Johnson. Illustration by