Kate Thomas (1975-2021)


“Born up a tree!” Kate would joyously announce to the table at the start of every meal. No, not a reference to the majestic gorillas of Bwindi, but a pun on bon appétit. Kate’s bubbly personality full of enthusiasm, shown in her dimple-cheeked grin, always made her friends laugh.


Kate was born (not up a tree) in South Africa and spent her adult years buzzing around the world. She lived in the USA, the UK, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Australia.  In each country she made life-long friends who will all miss her terribly and remember her each day with a smile.


Kate did not think twice about moving to an unknown country to start a new job, and within a few days of each arrival everyone knew her. To Kate, strangers were just friends she hadn’t met yet… and meet them she did! She had the natural gift of being able to chat to and quickly make friends with strangers no matter their background, nationality, age or social status. By the end of a party, she not only knew everyone’s name, but their life stories! Kate had this brilliant memory and she remembered every birthday marking it with a chatty phone call.  Connecting people is what made Kate the happiest.


Bringing people together who could help each other bought utmost joy to her. Kate’s “superpower” was getting last minute tickets to the best show in town for cut down prices. She was legendary. How did she do it?!


Whether it was the Olympics in Beijing, the American Idol finals in LA, or an opera extravaganza overlooking Sydney Harbour, there she was in the front row, having turned up at the last moment with no ticket wearing a t-shirt and a huge smile.


Living life bravely and to the absolute fullest is what Kate will be remembered for, even during her cancer journey. So, ask yourself WWKD – What Would Kate Do? Are you thinking of a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while? Give them a call right now and I promise you that you won’t regret it. A once in a lifetime event happening near you? Just turn up with a mate and see if you can get in! Even if you can’t, you’ll have a blast and a story to tell.  All of us need a friend who will call you first thing in the morning to say, “Get out of bed, we’re going on an adventure!”; Kate was that friend to so many and we will fondly remember our adventures with Kate and she will live on in our hearts forever.


 Kate and some of her family visited Bwindi in 2019.


Even though Kate had travelled to the four corners of the Earth, this was her favourite ever holiday, which is why her family Gale, Rose, Michael, Greg and Alfie chose to ask her friends to support The Gorilla Guardians of Bwindi.


You can see plaques commemorating Kate at the outdoor firepit seating area of the CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and on the Jack fruit tree overlooking the beautiful forest near the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Center.

Please donate to The Gorilla Guardians of Bwindi, Uganda in Kate’s memory by clicking this link and help to protect the last 1063 mountain gorillas. Thank you!