Highgate charity founder: ‘My daughter who died aged 17 was most inspiring person I knew’

Lindsey Wylie is the founder of the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation (AWTF) charity for disadvantaged children, which she set up in 2010 following the tragic death of her 17-year-old daughter Alexandra from cancer. She lives in Highgate with her family.

What brought you to Highgate?

I arrived in the UK from South Africa in 1987 and really missed the sense of space that one has in Africa until I found Highgate.

What’s the best memory you have of the area?

I very much see my life divided into the person I was before Alexandra died, when I had such hopes, dreams and confidence, and the person I am now who, having lost the past as well as the future, concentrates with intense interest on the present. Alexandra loved to perform. The best memories from both these stages are of events in Pond Square. Alexandra danced each year in the Highgate Ballet School performance at Fair in the Square. After she died, my favourite memory is the first time the AWTF was involved in the Highgate turning on of the Christmas lights.

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what local issue would you champion?

Inequality and lack of opportunity for the many disadvantaged children we have in the area.

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What makes you smile on your way home?

Bumping into the wonderful local people I have been privileged to meet who all so generously donate time and energy to help children in our community. Recently a Buddha, which sits on the edge of the tiny pond in front of the house, was stolen - on Mother’s Day of all days! After I had put up a notice asking for its return, so many people stopped me to say what a sense of peace they felt when they walked past and how outraged they were that anyone could steal a Buddha. I had no idea that so many people cared.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

I have many memories of how Alexandra coped with the pain of all the procedures she had in hospital that catch me up when I am doing something stupid like avoiding going to the dentist. Her friends all talk of being inspired by Allie’s determination and the energy she gave to everything she did. But for me the most extraordinary thing Alexandra left behind was her very positive energy.