Sybil became the founding secretary and then chair of the Pembrokeshire branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust 40 years ago after meeting a family in her role as chief reporter with the Western Telegraph newspaper. Sybil was approached by Grace Lloyd, the mother of 14-year-old Mark, who was the oldest of seven people in Pembrokeshire diagnosed with CF at the time.
Mark was born in 1964, when the Trust had only just been established. At that time, the majority of people born with CF died in childhood, and Grace offered support to other parents who were facing this terrifying diagnosis. Thanks to developments in care and new treatments, Mark lived to see his 40th birthday, leading a full life and holding down a job right up to his death in 2004.
A life-changing moment
Meeting Mark and his family was a life-changing moment for Sybil, and she threw herself into growing the Pembrokeshire branch and fighting on behalf people with the condition and their families. As more local cases of CF were diagnosed, the Pembrokeshire branch grew, and thanks to the hard work of the branch and local families, improvements were made to the local CF service and a more local CF clinic was founded so that people with CF wouldn’t have to travel to Cardiff for treatment.
Over the years Sybil and the rest of the Pembrokeshire branch have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, making a massive contribution to the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the lives of people with CF across the UK.
A life on the campaigning trail
As well as her commitment to supporting the branch, Sybil has taken part in many sponsored events over the years, including an abseil, numerous walks and even a trek up Snowdon when she was in her mid 80s.
In addition to her mammoth fundraising efforts, Sybil offered her support to bereaved parents and arranged memorial services to remember those who had died.
Serious ill health has threatened to derail Sybil's extraordinary energy in the past two years. She was diagnosed first with breast cancer and then with lung cancer in the space of six months. Despite her own health issues Sybil continues to put people with CF and their families first, and she is still on the campaigning trail.
Sybil’s son Andrew said of his mother’s award: “She’s absolutely delighted with the award and it’s given her a real lift.”