Gail Hodges – She lit a flame in Bath that still burns brightly

It is with great sadness that we learned that Gail Hodges died in early January. She was a woman full of compassion for homeless and vulnerable people.

Peter Heywood founder of Genesis Trust believes that “thousands of people in Bath owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Gail.  Her legacy is amazing.”

The seeds of Genesis Trust were sown in 1990 when Bath hairdresser, Gail, saw homeless teenagers rummaging in a rubbish bin for food. Realising that they were sleeping rough, Gail began to provide them with soup and sandwiches each night. From there she galvanised others and soon many people from churches in Bath joined her. Soon the Soup Run was providing hot soup and food every night of the year, with lots of volunteers making food at home, and serving it on the streets.  An article in the Bath Chronicle at the time called her ‘the angel of the streets.’

In recent years Gail returned to live in Bath for a year and she again supported people in need and volunteered at the Welcome Cafe at Weston Hub.

Peter says, “I’m so pleased that she came to live here for a time last year so that we could be together again.  She made many friends in Weston during that time, especially in the Welcome Café where she supported and loved some of our most needy guests, just like in the old days.”

We were privileged to feature Gail at our Thanksgiving Service at Bath Abbey in October 2022 when we were able to give thanks for the 32 years of Genesis Trust and Gail’s contribution. For the service we made a film of Gail and Peter talking about how it all started, and it is lovely to see it and to appreciate her speaking of the early days. Her compassion in action truly inspired others – “she lit a flame in Bath that still burns brightly”.

Her sister Jo recently said that for Gail starting the Soup Run was her proudest achievement and she fondly remembers that time, “Oh the memories of making butties in her kitchen for the soup run!” and that throughout her life her “heart was always with the homeless”.

We have a press cutting here from the tenth anniversary of the Soup Run with Gail and Peter and other people you may recognise.

Please do watch our film of Gail and the roots of Genesis Trust.