Margaret Lillis Obituary - East Cheshire Hospice

Margaret Lillis Obituary

Margaret Lillis: a headteacher turned chaplain who walked humbly with thousands of relatives.  

Always interested in the human condition, Margaret Lillis had a gift that made her an attentive listener who connected profoundly with those experiencing life challenges. It was a gift she generously shared with so many over more than 50 years firstly as a Catholic Sister, teacher/headteacher, Diocesan Schools Advisor and most recently as Chaplain at East Cheshire Hospice.

Margaret, who died peacefully aged 74 on 21 May 2022 after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer earlier, leaves an indelible mark on the hearts of those whom she helped throughout her life.

A woman of deep faith, she joined the Ursuline Convent, Brentwood in her native Essex in 1966, and after 20 years Margaret decided to follow her vocation outside the religious order but still very much following its charism. In 1986 she came north, first teaching in Warrington before taking up a post at St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Macclesfield Margaret was appointed Headteacher at St Paul’s Primary in Poynton in 1997, a position she relished. Realising that her talents could be used for the benefit of many more children and schools, she was asked to be the Assistant Director of Schools for the Shrewsbury Diocese which she did until she retired in 2011.

Having served others her whole life, Margaret didn’t take well to retirement, so she started to volunteer on the wards at East Cheshire Hospice, making tea and chatting to patients and family members. Her gift as a listener was spotted by the hospice chaplain who asked her to join the chaplaincy team and when he relocated to West Yorkshire in 2016, Margaret was the obvious choice to replace him in the lead role.

Admitting the job could be very challenging, but despite the all-consuming nature of her work Margaret also described it as “the greatest privilege I’ve ever had.” She made herself available 24/7 for patients, family members, staff and volunteers and on the odd occasion she went home, she could be heard saying ‘I’m leaving now, but I can always come back’ which was much appreciated by the thousands of patients and family members who received her special brand of compassion.

Not having children of her own, Margaret felt blessed to be an aunt, great-aunt, Godmother and Great-Godmother, roles she took on with gusto and brought love and laughter to all the precious young people in her life.

Margaret loved relaxing by playing her guitar, in fact music and musicals were a constant source of entertainment throughout her life, and she never missed an opportunity to get a room full of people singing.

Her Christian faith was very important to her, but she never assumed anything about others’ spirituality. She joined everyone on their journey and walked beside them at their own pace. She was guided in her ministry by the words of the minor prophet, Micah, who when asked, ‘What does your Lord require of you? Answered, ‘To act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.’ So many people can attest that she truly lived her life by those words.

Margaret Lillis’s requiem Mass will be held at 12 noon on Tuesday 21 June 2022 at St Alban’s Catholic Church, Chester Road Macclesfield, with a committal service at Macclesfield Crematorium, Prestbury Road at 2pm, followed by a wake to celebrate her life, at the Packhorse Bowling Club, Abbey Road, Macclesfield.

Everyone is invited to one or all the celebrations.

There are two online fundraisers in memory of Margaret. You can donate to East Cheshire Hospice in memory of Margaret by clicking here. Or donate to CAFOD by clicking here.

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