Saturday, 14 December 2019

£5,000 appeal for family of tragic mother

£5,000 appeal for family of tragic mother

AN appeal has been launched to support the family of a Henley woman who died after going missing.

Hannah Gibbs was found in the River Thames near Marlow on November 1, just 19 days after she vanished from her home in Gainsborough Road, which she shared with her mother Gay Lawless and son Joshua, 20. She also left a 17-year-old daughter, Jessica.

Her disappearance sparked a search involving police divers, Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue and volunteers including Henley Deputy Mayor David Eggleton, her neighbour.

Now Jannine Silver, a former resident of the Gainsborough estate who was friends with Miss Gibbs for more than 20 years, is fundraising to help her family pay for the funeral.

She hopes to raise £5,000 and has so far raised more than £3,300.

Mrs Silver, 47, wanted to help as her husband Howard, died suddenly in January so she says she understands the stress of an unexpected bereavement.

She said: “My husband went to sleep one evening and never woke up so I know the financial pressures that a funeral can bring. I was fortunate not to need help but I know Hannah was very young and I don’t want her children to face that burden. I want to raise as much as I can, although even £5,000 won’t cover the full cost.

“It’s so tragic what happened — when I heard Hannah was missing, I came back here to spend some time on the water with David and his nephew Matthew.”

Mrs Silver, whose daughter Chelsea, 28, helped Miss Gibbs to run a Slimming World group in Twyford, said: “Hannah was just the loveliest and bubbliest person, who would help anyone that needed it.

“My daughter loved working with her because she was so positive and great at inspiring people to achieve their goals.

“I was absolutely gutted when I heard they’d found her. It’s a heartbreaking loss and it must be terrible for the family that it’s still unexplained.

“Anyone who had met Hannah would agree she was wonderful and so proud of her children — she talked about them constantly and would absolutely glow when she did. She did such a good job raising the two of them, mostly by herself in the early days, and they’ve both turned out to be such beautiful people.

“We’ve had an amazing response to the appeal. We’ve had donors who say they didn’t know her but they wanted to help after reading her story, which is very touching. I know the family are thankful for the support.”

Miss Gibbs grew up in Henley and attended Trinity Primary School and Gillotts School before moving to Twyford around the time she had Joshua. She trained as a teacher and worked in Hurst for many years before going on to manage the bar at the Wee Waif in Charvil.

She didn’t come home after going for a walk on the evening of October 13. Police were called after several of her belongings were found on the riverbank between Mill Meadows and Hambleden the next day.

Her family say her disappearance was unexplained.

To make a donation, visit

More News:

Latest video from

VIDEO: Tributes paid after rugby player's death

POLL: Have your say