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Love Grace x

1500. Gillian Millane
1501. Hannah O'Callaghan

Gillian Millane and Hannah O’Callaghan, from Essex, set up ‘Love Grace x’, a campaign that has led to the donation of over 7000 handbags filled with essentials to domestic abuse refuges worldwide.

The campaign was set up by the Millane family in memory of Gillian’s daughter, Grace, who was tragically murdered while on a backpacking trip in New Zealand, as a way of giving her a positive legacy. Throughout the pandemic they have also donated hundreds of care packages to NHS workers, patients and carers, distributing to hospitals and care homes across Essex.

In a personal letter to Gillian, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: 

“Every day I write to somebody to thank them for their service to others by making them a Point of Light. Points of Light are the most inspirational of our nation’s volunteers and today I cannot think of anyone more inspiring or more deserving of recognition than you.  

“I know that you started ‘Love Grace x’ in the most awful of circumstances and I cannot express my sympathies enough for what you have been through as a family. 

“Domestic abuse is a horrific crime that shatters families and turns homes into prisons. As women flee the most horrendous of circumstances, your bags filled with toiletries and other essentials may be their only possession. Your help for other women is a wonderful tribute to Grace.”

In a personal letter to Hannah, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: 

“On behalf of the country I wanted to write to thank you for all the incredible support you have given to more than 7,000 women who have fled their homes through ‘Love Grace x’.

“From toothpaste and hand gel to perfume and make up, the contents of your handbags provide not merely essential practical support but a vital source of comfort and dignity.

“I am lost in admiration for all that you have achieved in just one year. It is the most remarkable tribute to the memory of Grace.”

Gillian and Hannah said: 

“We are so honoured to receive the Points of Light Award. Since Grace was murdered we have been raising money for the White Ribbon Charity to raise awareness of male violence towards women, we had no idea of the scale of the issue. We wanted to create a legacy in Grace’s memory and directly help women who have been affected by domestic abuse, to turn our negative into a positive and if we help just one woman, then we have achieved that.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support people have shown our ‘Love Grace Handbag Appeal’, from donating handbags & toiletries, to running appeals in their own area. This has allowed more women to receive a little bit of normality and remind them to believe in themselves as they matter.

“So thank you to everyone who has donated, and all of our friends & family who have helped us with Love Grace. We would like to accept this award on their behalf & continue to raise awareness of the issues many face and also make sure that no other family has to go through this.”

See more about Love Grace x

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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