9 November 2023

Refuge statement on the death of former Chair, Maggie Rae

Refuge is deeply saddened to hear about the loss of our former Chair, Maggie Rae. Maggie’s commitment to Refuge over a number of years, first as a Board Member and then as a Chair, helped us grow into the country’s largest provider of specialist domestic abuse services to women and their children. Maggie’s dedication to ending domestic abuse and wider violence against women and girls (VAWG), has undoubtedly helped thousands of women to live safely, away from abuse. She will be greatly missed.

Chair of Refuge, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton said:

“Maggie was a fierce advocate for women and families tragically impacted by domestic abuse. Maggie gave her own time and passion to Refuge for 15 years, many of which she served as our Chair of Trustees until her retirement in May 2020.

Her exceptional commitment, drive and leadership was instrumental in setting up the transformation and growth journey that we are now on. She worked tirelessly to ensure we were able to deliver brilliant support for the women and children we serve, whilst having a relentless focus on the importance of fostering an empowering and inclusive culture.

Maggie continued to support our work. She was always available to provide counsel or support. She will forever be remembered through our work and greatly missed.”

Refuge Ambassador, Cherie Booth KC said:

“Maggie and I first met when as young lawyers she would instruct me in domestic violence cases. Over our 45-year friendship her commitment to obtaining justice for women facing domestic abuse never wavered and was shown in her long and successful tenure as Chair of Refuge”

Refuge Ambassador, Dame Helena Kennedy KC said:

“Maggie was Chair of Refuge during a very challenging time internally. She brought her wisdom and deft lawyerly negotiating skills to the role, leading the organisation’s change management with empathy and good sense. She was a lovely woman with a dry wit and infectious laugh. Her commitment to ending violence towards women and children and producing fair outcomes was central to her work. She will be greatly missed.”