An Andover woman who ran a support centre for over three decades has been lauded following her passing away earlier this month.

Yvonne Bradbury was the manager of the Andover Crisis and Support Centre, where she helped people from all walks of life in their time of greatest need. She is credited with making the centre what it is today, providing outreach, accommodation and counselling.

The “fantastic aunt” and “impressive” campaigner sadly passed away on February 7, following a short battle with Covid.

Yvonne was born in 1951. Along with her sister Valerie, with whom she had a “very close relationship”, she formed a big part of the wider family. She was a trailblazer in her 20s as one of only two female grain traders in the UK when she worked for Kenneth Wilson Corn Merchants, now KW Alternative Feeds.

In the 1980s, she joined the Andover Crisis and Support Centre. The centre provides drop in and outreach facilities for all, as well as residential accommodation for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Centre staff Cheryl Chalkley, Yvonne Bradbury, Melody Lee and Carol Norman

Centre staff Cheryl Chalkley, Yvonne Bradbury, Melody Lee and Carol Norman

She subsequently became the manager of the facility, which her niece Lyndsay Nickerson said was “her true calling in life.”

“Her passion for helping others and her spirit of hope is something that’s really resonated with us,” Lyndsay told the Advertiser. “She was really fighting the corner for people who are vulnerable and needed her support. She absolutely dedicated her life to that work.”

Julian Chun, Operations Director of Sentinel with Yvonne

Julian Chun, Operations Director of Sentinel with Yvonne

As manager, she is credited with expanding the centre from beyond just help, but also providing education for the community.

John Barlow, a trustee of the centre, said: “Yvonne has been the centre manager since the 1980s and what has happened over that time is that the centre has increased its amount of accommodation. Under Yvonne we’ve also grown to provide not only help for people, but also education, such as the programmes in schools and courses for victims of domestic abuse.”

He said that her determination and drive have played a large role in making the centre what it is today.

“The centre, to a very significant extent was her life,” said John, “and she dedicated endless hours and massive amounts of thought and dedication to it. Frankly, the centre is today what it is largely because of Yvonne and her efforts, her influence and the good work she did.

“She was the sort of person who got things done. She was much respected and much loved by everybody. She was a joy to work with and so impressive, but her dedication to everybody who called, with whatever the problem was, was really second to none.”

MP Kit Malthouse with Yvonne (Right) and crisis centre staff

MP Kit Malthouse with Yvonne (Right) and crisis centre staff

He said the centre has been “overwhelmed” since Yvonne’s death with messages from the people Yvonne has helped. Serving an estimated 1500 people per year, 500 men and 1000 women, Yvonne has touched the lives of almost 50,000 people through her work, with the centre serving people from Test Valley and across the country.

John said: “One of the things that she particularly liked was seeing how the centre could turn somebody’s life around. People coming to the centre have generally escaped abuse so they stay in the centre and eventually they’re helped and rehoused and the community provides all the help they need, and you see somebody starting life again with a fresh start and fresh hope.”

This kind, caring side to her nature was also shared by members of Yvonne’s family, who said she “leaves a huge gap in our family.”

“She was a fantastic aunt and very much involved in our lives and the lives of our children,” said Lyndsay. “She was another kind of grandparent-type figure in their lives and very close to us. She was a really fun person, extremely generous and kind in the truest sense. She was quite a mischievous character.”

She said Yvonne’s partner Pete had also received many messages paying tribute to Yvonne and was “well-known by all that knew her.”

Yvonne was due to retire later this year, at the age of 70. However, last month, she contracted Covid and had a short battle with the disease. She then passed away on February 7.

“That’s one of the cruel parts about it,” said John. “It’s very, very sad that she’s not going to have the opportunity to enjoy her retirement.”

Yvonne’s family have asked that members of the public consider making a donation to the Andover Crisis and Support Centre in her memory. For more information, please visit: