As Jill Last enters her 79th year, she’s finally retiring from her volunteering efforts, and is inviting the entire community to celebrate with her on Saturday, April 13, at the United Church Hall, from 2 till 4 p.m. (Sarah Gawdin/Hope Standard)

After decades of volunteering, Jill Last invites Hope to celebrate her 79th birthday and retirement

Last has been volunteering for a variety of activities in Hope for just shy of 30 years

Although Jill Last was born 7,516 kilometres from Hope—in Felixstowe, England—she says she wishes she’d come to Hope when immigrating to Canada with her husband nearly 60 years ago.

“I should’ve come to Hope right from the start—it’s been very good to me,” explained Last, who’s been a part of the community since 1992. “We’ve been very happy here.”

Upon arriving in Hope, Last says she dived head-on into involving herself with as much of the community as possible, both through her work, and volunteering.

“Volunteering makes me feel good,” Last said after finishing up teaching her regular Tuesday exercise class at the Canyon Golden Age Club.

READ MORE: First annual Women of Distinction Awards a success

“If you’re going to volunteer, you need to get something out of it for yourself—something (like) making you feel good,” she continued. “I have a passion (for volunteering), and the things that I do, I do because I’m passionate about them.

“But I know the time has come. It’s time to retire.”

After decades of engaging with the community through her passions, Last says she’s finally ready to step off the fast track and begin taking it easy.

“I was a marriage commissioner for almost 10 years, (and) got to know a lot of people by the weddings I did. I’ve been teaching the exercise class for 20 years, and was at the Rec Centre before that. And I’ve always been a volunteer at the Lodge, and got to know a lot of people there.”

A musician at heart, Last has been directing the community choir, which is more than 50-years-old, for eight years. “It’s fairly big now, we’ve got at least 30 singers.”

Prior to that, Last also taught music in Hope for years, and in 2012, she says she was honoured to win the Heart Hero award, which was sponsored by a health fair that was being run at the time. And in March of this year, Last says she was again honoured when she was one of five women in the community to be given a Women of Distinction Award from the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS).

“That was pretty special,” Last recalled with a smile.

READ MORE: Spring concert at Grace Baptist Church

“But more time is (now) needed to do other things,” Last explained. “I probably won’t slow down, though, that’s not my personality. I can do other things that I’ve always been interested in, so there (may be) other things I can get involved in as a volunteer.”

That said, Last is hosting a party on Saturday, April 13, at the United Church Hall, from 2 till 4 p.m, to not only ring in her 79th birthday, but to also celebrate the newest chapter in her life. But Last says she doesn’t want any gifts—that’s not what it’s about.

“I’ll get such a kick out of people coming and having a good time, that’s what makes me feel good,” she said. And “I want to show my appreciation (to the community because), through thick and thin, they’ve supported me. So this is my way of saying thank you.

“And while it makes me sad when I think about (retiring), I know that anything I do I have to do my best at,” and Last says she’s finally come to terms with not being able to live up to her own standards any longer.

“But I’ve met some really great people here,” she added. “I’ll never leave Hope. I may be retiring, but I’ll (still be) around, just not teaching exercise class or choir.”


@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


As Jill Last enters her 79th year, she’s finally retiring from her volunteering efforts, and is inviting the entire community to celebrate with her on Saturday, April 13, at the United Church Hall, from 2 till 4 p.m. (Sarah Gawdin/Hope Standard)

Just Posted

Chilliwack car show cancelled due to weather forecast

Popular Village Classic car show will not be rescheduled, say organizers

Agassiz author pens a kingly book

Long-time writer and producer Alexander Hamilton-Brown just finished his first novel

UPDATED: Two weeks too long for hospital ward closure, says Chilliwack mayor

Medical director of Chilliwack hospital says maternity ward will be back in business soon

Chilliwack maternity ward closure narrowed to two weeks

Fraser Health says they’ve found a solution to an expected 13-week shortage of obstetricians

Chilliwack: Time to help the helpers

Family who fostered 56 kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read