Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic boss announced today that her 96 year-old mum, Eve, has been taken away by COVID-19.
Branson announced his mum’s obituary on Twitter.
“I’m sorry to share that, sadly like a lot of people’s mums and dads right now in these days of Covid, my mum Eve has also passed away.
“Rather than mourn her loss, I wanted to celebrate her wonderful life & the joy she brought to so many”, he wrote.
In a moving tribute at virgin.com, Branson further wrote:
She held on for one last victory, managing to fight off the virus, but had expended all of her energy in the process.
One of my wonderful sisters, Vanessa, and nephew Louis were with her until the end, as were the wonderful nurses who she entertained with tales from her life and much laughter over glasses of whisky.
Rather than mourn her loss, I want to celebrate her wonderful life, her tremendous spirit, the joy she brought to so many, and the love she gave us all.
Mum was 96-years-old, but had the same enthusiasm and energy she had when I was a boy. As for so many of us in these days of Covid, it feels so strange that the person who has always been there for us, with such zest for life, is gone.
My sisters Lindy and Vanessa and I were so lucky to grow up with mum and dad as our parents, instilling values that have lasted a lifetime.
They taught us the importance of hard work, of not taking yourself too seriously, of treating people how you wish to be treated, of entrepreneurship, and so much more. They showed us how family is the most important thing in the world, and surrounded us with love and encouragement.
My mum was a force of nature. She lived many remarkable lives. She took glider lessons disguised as a boy, enlisted in the WRENS during World War II, toured Germany as a ballet dancer after the war, acted on the West End stage and worked as a pioneering air hostess on the treacherous British South American Airways routes.
When I was growing up she was always working a project; she was inventive, fearless, relentless – an entrepreneur before the word existed.
It is no exaggeration to say I owe my career to mum. One day in the late Sixties mum saw a necklace lying on the road near Shamley Green and took it to the police station. After three months nobody had claimed it so the police told her she could keep it. She came up to London, sold the necklace and gave me the money. Without that £100, I could never have started Virgin. We were so sad to lose dad back in 2011, but mum did exactly as he would have wished by continuing to grab life with both hands.
Honestly, it was always more difficult finding time in her diary than mine! Whether she was organising charity polo tournaments, firing the starting pistol to begin the Virgin Strive Challenge or looking after her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she was always actively helping others.
One of mum’s most brilliant legacies is The Eve Branson Foundation, which she founded to improve the lives of women and young girls in the Atlas Mountains, and provide access to education and health care to those in need.
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