Those who have been in the Cayman Islands for any extended length of time can’t think of organisations like the Pink Ladies, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations or the Girl’s Brigade without thinking of Olive Miller.
At 91, she still sits on the Pines Retirement Home and NCVO boards and is also involved in the Girls Brigade, as well as arranging the Pink Ladies birthday parties and participating in visitations with church members.
During the past few weeks, she’s seen the success of yet another NCVO telethon and the Pink Ladies Christmas Bazaar.
“Although the Cayman economy is down right now, the NCVO is very fortunate and very blessed with all the people supporting the organisation,” Ms Olive said. “The past three years of the telethon has been very good and well supported. This year’s telethon was the biggest amount we ever raised.”
She was one of the founding members of NCVO in 1979.
The telethon, which first started as a radio-thon blossomed to television and became the NCVO’s biggest fundraiser.
The NCVO relies heavily on this major event to assist with the funding of its existing projects. Those projects include the Richard Arch Children’s Centre, the Jack and Jill Nursery and Early Learning Centre, Miss Nadine’s Pre-School, the Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home, the NCVO Caring Cousins Welfare Scheme, the John R. Gray Memorial Grant, the Miles Ahead Programme, the NCVO “New to You” Bargain Shop, the Pines Retirement Home and the Pink Ladies.
As a young woman in her 20s, Ms Miller found herself in the Cayman Islands after travelling from Rayleigh, Essex, England to Jamaica in 1946 as a missionary.
When she moved to Cayman, she became involved with the Presbyterian Church as a full-time youth worker, mainly because she was involved in the Girls Guides, during that time she also started the Girls Brigade.
After leaving Cayman for a short spell she returned in 1949 and helped the Rev. George Hicks to start the Cayman Island High School.
She returned home in 1951 and remained there for seven years. However, love was blossoming with Ray Miller, who wanted her as his bride. He travelled to England, married her and brought her back to Grand Cayman.
Mrs. Miller also had a son, Nigel, before she resumed her activities at the high school, church and Girls Brigade.
In 1965, she became the first reporter and later associate editor of the Cayman Islands Tradewinds and Caymanian Weekly newspapers. This was followed by a post as the first Government Information Services officer, she was also a youth community worker for the National Council of Voluntary Services before retiring at age 75.
Mrs. Miller was also awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour in 1967; received the Member of the British Empire award and was named one of five Quincentennial Women and received a Spirit of Excellence Award on National Heroes’ Day.
Throughout her long and distinguished career, Mrs. Miller has remembered words of wisdom written to her from her father, who was London postmaster, “remember the postage stamp, its usefulness consist in its ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.”