Gillian was born in Purley, London, but was brought straight back to Surbiton where she still lives. Gillian was an only child, and first went to school in Chiltern when she 5 and a half years old, then to Woodlands Junior School and then Surbiton High School. Woodlands used to be on South Bank and there is now a block of flats with the same name there. Just behind Woodlands there was a school called Hazelwood. By 1958 it had been closed and the road renamed Hazelwood Court.