Helen Margaret Leslie CBE

Born1905 Alexander Square, Kensington
Died1979 Clifton Hampden, Oxon

Life Events

1926Married The Hon. Sir Geoffrey Cokayne Gibbs KCMG in St. Mary's, Hertingfordbury
1927Birth of son David Charles Leslie Gibbs
1929Birth of son Stephen Cokayne Gibbs
1932Birth of son Julian Herbert Gibbs
1934Birth of son Sir Roger Geoffrey Gibbs
1938Birth of son Christopher Henry Gibbs
1938Birth of daughter Elizabeth Helen Gibbs
1975Death of husband The Hon. Sir Geoffrey Cokayne Gibbs KCMG

Biography and Notes

2nd and youngest daughter of Charles Frederick Henry Leslie of Epcombs, Hertingfordbury, Herts., by Maud, 6th daughter of John Foster of New Hall Grange, Maltby, Yorks (of the family of Foster of Thorne Hall, Yorks); born in Alexander Square, Kensington, 7 June 1905 and baptised at Hertingfordbury. Married 6 October 1926 at St. Mary's, Hertingfordbury. Died 28 December 1979 and buried 2 January 1980 at St. Michael & All Angels, Clifton Hampden.

C.B.E. (1961). Justice of the Peace for Hertfordshire (1942) and for Oxfordshire (1950).
1923-78 Various posts with the Girl Guide Association, including County Commissioner, Herts. (1938-46); Chief Commissioner for Overseas Territories (1950-60); Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Commonwealth (1951-54); Vice-Chairman of Executive Committee (1951-54); Member of the Council (1940-77); Vice-President of the Council (1978-79); Delegate to World Conference in Holland (1954); Visitor to the World Conference in Greece (1960); Chairman, Central African Guide Conference in Southern Rhodesia (1956); Chairman, West Indies Federation Guide Conference (1959).

Member of Village School Committee and Parochial Church Council in Essenden and Cliften Hampden, and a variety of other local committees.

Silver Fish, 1964.

Patron of the Living of St. Michael and All Angels, Clifton Hampden, 1976-79.

In her obituary in The Times of 7 January 1980 a correspondent wrote: 'Lady Gibbs managed the Clifton Hampden estate on her husband's behalf for 30 years, and her real recreation was her interest in, and care of, people; and this included all her neighbours and tenants. In addition, she was a skilful and indefatigable gardener and no mean ornithologist.

Until a year ago when a fall seriously injured her spine and deprived her of the sight of an eye, she never relaxed, and with her incisive brain she delved deeply into any problem of village life with an efficiency that alarmed the idle and disconcerted the easy-going.

The rewards of such a life of service were many: a preserved village which became an oasis of beauty with an active church with fabric restored and treasures repaired and recorded; a viable infant school; an invaluable village-hall in excellent repair; and, perhaps most important of all, a family who follow their parents' example in the care of people and places'.

She gave special support to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and to Missions in Rhodesia where her husband's younger brother, Sir Humphrey Gibbs was Governor 1959-1969.

Portrait: by Simon Elwes, in possession of Elizabeth Fleming.