THE family of a “wonderful” coffee shop worker are raising money in the hope of installing a lasting memorial to her outside Rayleigh Station. 

For 12 years, commuters’ mornings were brightened up by the bubbly and charismatic Gillian Knowler, who died on Monday, November 6, aged 66 after a battle with cancer.

Earlier this week, her 35-year-old son Matt Manning, who grew up in Rayleigh and then moved to South Africa, set up a GoFundMe on behalf of the family to raise money to help build a memorial for her outside the Greater Anglia-owned property.

Echo: Family - Gillian with Matt and two of her grandchildren Roman and MaximusFamily - Gillian with Matt and two of her grandchildren Roman and Maximus (Image: Matt Manning)

This would be in the form of a fountain planter full of colourful and bright flowers. 

So far, 60 people have donated, generating £1,660 towards the £10,000 target.

Matt said: “We’re really overwhelmed, and it’s amazing to have had such a good response already.

“It would be great to remember my mum by making the station a better place, which is what she used to do.

“If we raise the money, we can build something special.”

Echo: Happy place - Gillian working in the Brilliant Coffee Company kioskHappy place - Gillian working in the Brilliant Coffee Company kiosk (Image: Matt Manning)

If the dream becomes a reality, a large three-tier fountain planter full of blossoming colourful flowers will sit outside the station for all to enjoy and pay tribute to the “ray of sunshine”.

The 35-year-old went to the station on Tuesday, and he said there was a “good response” to the idea, and they think it would be the perfect way to remember their friend.

The target is a rough estimation on how much it would cost to “buy the feature, install it and fill it with the flowers but if there’s any money left over, it will go to Mesothelioma UK”.

Echo: Tribute - Gillian KnowlerTribute - Gillian Knowler (Image: Matt Manning)

Gillian died peacefully after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs.

It comes as she called on her ex-Kellogg International colleagues at Canvey’s Occidental oil refinery to come forward with information on working while exposed to asbestos, which the type of cancer is commonly associated with.

Her funeral was on Wednesday and as the hearse drove past the station, Matt says there were “loads of people waving goodbye, which was very touching”.

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