Jamie Leigh was born in New York City on 18 June 1986 to parents Sheila and Mark Lynch, and loving sister Sally May who was just 14 months old when Jamie was born.
From an early age Jamie’s fun and mischievous personality was evident and she quickly stole the hearts of those around her, readily making people laugh with her antics.
Overseas diplomatic postings with her family, moving from one school to another and experiencing diverse cultures was a normal way of life for Jamie and she embraced all and everything that came with this lifestyle. From New York in 1988 to postings in London, Harare and Papua New Guinea, in addition to stints back in Canberra.
From the age of 4 years at school in Kent, England, Jamie developed a liking and talent for music, singing and drama and she won leading parts in various dramatic productions. Her drama skills continued whilst on posting in Harare from 1995 to 1998 where she joined the Reps Theatre group. Described as “an outstanding young talent” by local theatre critics, Jamie scored major parts in several stage productions including: The Darling Buds of May, The Sound of Music and Oliver. She also took up playing the guitar during this time and, having a natural ear for music, she quickly passed through the various levels of learning.
Jamie had an innate love and respect of animals and she was delighted when the family adopted their first dog Annie, from the RSPCA in Harare in 1995, quickly followed by another canine friend Peggy early in 1996. The family’s connection with the RSPCA in Harare grew as Jamie and her sister Sally went on to raise much needed funds for the care of the animals by hosting their own regular stall laden with homemade cakes and biscuits during recess at school. Jamie loved all types of animals, wild, domestic, large and small, but there was little doubt that dogs and pigs were her favourites and she would always have a plentiful supply of pictures of both. Indeed if there was a dog in need of a home Jamie would always ask her family – in the hope that they might take in another canine friend.
Life in Africa opened up a plethora of opportunity for exciting travel and Jamie travelled to many places including safaris in Zimbabwe and Botswana, houseboat holidays and fishing at Lake Kariba, Victoria Falls and aid visits to remote villages. Jamie also participated in a ‘buddy’ visiting programme at the Harare Orphanage where she was very popular with the children.
Frequent trips to, and residence in, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea afforded Jamie the opportunity to perform voluntary work at the local branch of the RSPCA. Again Jamie befriended many of the local children, and an army of little folk would wait eagerly at the gates to the house when they knew Jamie was about to arrive.
During high school at Girls Grammar in Canberra, Jamie performed work experience at a veterinary clinic. Despite her usual squeamishness at needles she watched and later retold with great interest the many surgical procedures she witnessed.
Following high school, Jamie was undecided about what to do and completed a 2 year diploma of beauty therapy. After working in that field for some time she then commenced a diploma in animal studies.
Jamie was very popular and her fun (some would say mad!) sense of humour, caring and easy going personality resulted in her having a wealth of friends all around the world. Tragically, Jamie died in a car accident in March this year, aged just 26 years. At the celebration of her life more than 700 people attended and thousands of dollars were donated for her chosen cause – the RSPCA.
Jamie was also known as Jam, Jim, Jimmy, James, Jamo, Jame, Jim-Jim and even Reg by her many friends and family members. From these names, in May 2013 ‘Team Jim Jam’ was born and became the biggest ever fundraiser nationwide in the 21 year history of the RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk event. A combined effort of 2 teams, based in Canberra and the Gold Coast, donned in Team Jim Jam tee shirts raised in excess of $20,000.00 to benefit RSPCA. This amazing result was made possible through the dedication and love of Jamie’s many friends and family members. A kennel and an area in the cattery in Canberra have been dedicated to Jamie, with plaques bearing her name and an inscription.
Team Jim Jam’s participation in the Million Paws Walk will become an annual event through which Jamie’s legacy for the love and care of all animals, great and small will continue. The creation of the ‘Footprints Forever Foundation’ with GreaterGood will continue to provide perpetual funding for the RSPCA, and more importantly the animals Jamie loved.