DonorsEventsNewsOCFEileen Cavalier speaking at the Oxford Union

We were saddened recently to hear that Eileen Cavalier, founder of the London College of Beauty Therapy and a friend of community foundations, passed away recently. Eileen spoke at our debate in November at the Oxford Union, making the case for the beauty industry’s philanthropic activity.

Eileen founded the London College of Beauty Therapy after detailed research of the educational and training needs of the beauty industry. Prior to this there were no public colleges in London offering training for young people and adults seeking a career in beauty. LCBT is now the UK’s largest specialist further education beauty training, with over 1,300 beauty therapy students.

In 2010 Eileen was awarded an OBE for Services to Further Education in the New Year’s Honours List. The Association of Learning Providers nominated Eileen for an honour in recognition of the impact she made in improving education and skill levels in the beauty industry through the work of LCBT.

OCF was lucky to welcome Eileen as a guest at our Oxford Union debate in November 2015, where the motion being debated was “There is nothing wrong with spending more on looking good than doing good”. During the part of the debate where guests were invited to speak from the floor, Eileen highlighted the role of the beauty industry in generating and spending millions of pounds on philanthropy.

She said: “The beauty industry is worth more than £17 billion a year, and employs one million people. But it also raises an enormous amount of money for philanthropic causes – which actually it doesn’t sing about, but I know that from experience. The industry’s official charity is Look Good Feel Better, which goes into hospitals throughout the country offering makeovers to people who have undergone cancer treatment, who have lost their hair and eyebrows, and generally feel quite alien. Companies such as Estee Lauder, and Evelyn Lauder who founded Breast Cancer Awareness, have raised so far £450 million; and Mac Cosmetics have raised £280 million for AIDS. So there’s an enormous amount of work that is generated by what is done by the beauty industry. ”

OCF CEO Jayne Woodley commented: “It is strange how we can go through life and not realise how much our presence touches others. I certainly felt that was something that came across during Eileen’s memorial in the loving memories that were shared by her family and in the prayers and readings chosen. It was a privilege for us to know a lady as inspiring as Eileen, if only for a short time.”

A video of Eileen’s speech at the Oxford Union can be found here.