Gillian Mary Dickinson had a passion for the arts where she worked for the majority of her life. Her early years were spent at the British Council as editor of British Book News before setting up her own publishing company, Barrowden Books, later to be rebranded as The Spreddon Press. After leaving the British Council, Gillian worked as an educational publisher, for Stanley Thornes, travelling all over the world to develop agencies.
After retiring from Thornes, Gillian started The Spredden Press, specialising in books about Northumberland and County Durham. Publications such as P Anderson Graham’s ‘Highways and Byways in Northumbria’ (1988) and James Reed’s ‘The Border Ballads’ (1991) set the tone for future titles such as Christine E Jackson’s ‘Prideaux John Selby’ (1992) and Gillian’s last book, ‘Corbridge: The Last Two Thousand Years’ (2000), which has proved a popular title.
Gillian died in 2002, a week after enjoying her 70th birthday with her family in London. Her funeral was held at St. Andrews, Corbridge, her Parish Church. She left most of her assets to a Trust, known today as the Gillian Dickinson Trust.
Ten years on the trustees have supported projects throughout Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne & Wear through grants with an aggregate value in excess of £1m.