Patricia Hillson was born in Lincoln UK in 1928, the younger of two sisters. Her father was a jeweller and her mother a teacher, and Pat followed in her mother’s footsteps as a lifelong teacher of small children. She met the love of her life Tubby on a youth club trip to visit the sights of London by night, in the sorting room of a central London Post Office! They married in 1952 and had two children David (1955) and Ann (1957). Pat suffered from constant bad health from the age of 15 when she contracted TB (tuberculosis), and later polio. At one point she was paralysed from the neck down, only able to move her head and two fingers, but she overcame her many difficulties with determination, learning to drive and working as a fulltime teacher for over 40 years.
Pat always had a clear faith, knowing God was taking care of her throughout the trials of her life. A series of miraculous healings in the family in 1969 brought her faith experience to a new level, and encountering the first YWAM team to come to England in 1970 gave her an outlet for her new-found enthusiasm. Along with her husband Tubby, Pat (by now preferring to be called “Tricia”) transformed their north London home into a centre of hospitality for YWAMmers, and many staff and students found refuge and peace there, with Tricia offering a listening and praying heart. Despite continuing ill-health, Tricia worked alongside Tubby to establish YWAM England in the early days, and was a regular visitor to Holmsted Manor and Ifield Hall.
Tragedy struck Tricia when Tubby died unexpectedly in 1985 (see his memorial page). Following an apparently successful operation for oesophageal cancer, his body shut down and he died in the operating theatre. She found the loss of her life partner hugely difficult to bear, but continued to offer hospitality and ministry through the London house, as well as teaching fulltime in a local school until her retirement in 1988. After retiring Tricia spent time with her family in UK and USA, travelled a little, and kept in touch with her YWAM friends. All was well until she fell and broke her hip while visiting her son David in 1997. She never fully recovered from the hip operation, had difficulty walking, and soon had to move from her London home to a care home in Hampshire, close to David and his wife Liz. Alzheimer’s Disease quickly developed and Tricia became unaware of much of her surroundings, and increasingly frail, until she died peacefully in her sleep on 17 January 2001. Many YWAM friends and others came to her funeral and shared how she had touched their lives through her gentle care and prayer.
Tricia will be remembered as an early pioneer of YWAM in England, and an important part of the hidden support network that enabled the more glamorous ministries to function.