obituary

Lord Armstrong of Ilminster obituary | Politics

Robert Armstrong, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, who has died aged 93, was the supreme Whitehall mandarin – discreet, a staunch defender of official secrecy, a loyal servant of his political masters. He held all the key posts as he passed through the Whitehall corridors of power. He was private secretary first to the liberal, reforming Labour home secretary Roy Jenkins, and subsequently, between 1970 and 1975, to a Conservative prime minister, Edward Heath, and a Labour one, Harold Wilson. He…

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Roger Fieldhouse obituary | Education

My friend and former colleague Roger Fieldhouse, who has died aged 79 after a short illness, contributed significantly to two academic fields: local history; and the history and philosophy of modern British adult education. Roger was appointed tutor/organiser for the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) in North Yorkshire in the mid-1960s, and developed a lifelong love of the area. He worked with local people to explore the history of their own communities. His book A History of Swaledale and Richmond (1978)…

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Krystyna Gaffney obituary | Education

My aunt, Krystyna Gaffney, who has died of a brain aneurysm aged 64, worked in the examinations department at Newcastle University for 25 years. She was born in Aberystwyth to Janina (nee Borowska) and Kazimierz Clapinski, Polish immigrants who had relocated to rural west Wales after the second world war. Krys and her siblings ran wild across the fields surrounding their father’s farm, catching minnows in jam jars, picking marsh marigolds and helping the corgis round up the cows. She…

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Bryan Down obituary | Education

My father, Bryan Down, who has died aged 84, was an electronics engineer who spent more than a quarter of a century at Ferranti, the company that invented the first European microprocessor. It also produced some of the first uncommitted logic arrays (ULAs), used in early home computers such as the Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro. As Ferranti’s sales and marketing director he travelled the world and was a frequent visitor to Silicon Valley in the early…

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Christine Mayhew obituary | Education

My friend Christine Mayhew, who has died aged 77, made a success of three careers across her working life – as a midwife, sociology lecturer and counsellor. Each of them she pursued in Harlow in Essex, a town to which she had moved as a young woman in the 1960s and to which she made a great contribution over subsequent years. Christine was born in Newton-Le-Willows in Lancashire to Wilfred Conway, a railway fitter, and his wife, Eleanor (nee Parson),…

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Letter: Patrick Eavis obituary | Education

Peter Hetherington’s obituary of Patrick Eavis began by saying he was “committed to lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This was true from the very beginning. Patrick and I were contemporaries at the Blue school, Wells, in Somerset. He went on to the London School of Economics and I joined the civil service. We met again after I had completed national service. Patrick said: “You should go to university.” “Isn’t it too late at 22?” He replied: “Of course not, the…

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Michael Gerard obituary | Music

My father, Michael Gerard, who has died aged 73, was a teacher with a great passion for music. He was proud to have founded the Greenshoots Ceilidh Orchestra in Leicester 25 years ago, and he also played with the city’s Clarendon Park Orchestra from its inception, as well as the Leicester Community Concert Band and the Afro-city Swingsters, the Regenerates and the Jazz Workshop Band. Whatever the genre, he just loved to play. Michael was born in Beckenham, Kent, to…

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Ceri James obituary | Education

My mum, Ceri James, who has died of heart failure aged 72, was a speech and drama teacher. A fine actor, Ceri taught secondary English and drama, and children with special needs at primary level. She had a beautiful singing voice and wonderful diction, plus a gift for languages (she was fluent in French and Welsh). Always glamorous, Ceri loved shoes, jewellery and clothes, but also magnolia trees. She was well travelled and enjoyed exploring new foods and cultures. She…

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Pino Chirico obituary | Education

My father, Pino Chirico, who has died aged 81, taught Italian to generations of students in the east of England, and had a lifelong commitment to a united, peaceful, inclusive Europe. He was born in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy, the son of Domenico Chirico, a station master, and Isabella (nee Pirozzo). He was profoundly affected by his early memories of war, having spent the summer of 1943 sleeping in his grandparents’ olive groves near Rosarno, a small town 30 miles…

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Keda Cowling obituary | Education

My mother, Keda Cowling, who has died aged 94, started her career as a teacher at Sandal primary school in Baildon, West Yorkshire, in 1968. Her great passion – and soon her all-consuming obsession – became the teaching of reading. Keda would ask the parents of any struggling readers for permission to teach their children at her home – without charge – at the end of the school day. She tried anything and everything to see what helped and this…

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Letter: Zara Steiner obituary | Education

Zara Steiner will certainly be remembered “with great affection” by her female students. She was also an encouraging, engaging and exacting tutor of male students. While at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in the early 1970s, I was supervised by her for the American history paper, not her specialist subject but one to which she brought great knowledge and all her analytical acumen. It was worth the cycle ride to New Hall, and I too remember her with great affection. Source link

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Simon Norton obituary | Education

Simon Norton, who has died of a heart attack aged 66, was a world-class mathematician sometimes mistaken for a homeless man. In the late 1960s he represented Britain at the International Mathematical Olympiads three times, scoring the top grade each time, once with 100%, another time with 99%, and winning a special prize for the elegance of his solutions. What made his work beautiful was not its complexity but its simplicity. Without drafts or false starts, he laid down his…

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David Gribble obituary | Education

My husband, David Gribble, who has died aged 87, was for many years a language teacher at Dartington Hall, Devon, a progressive boarding school, where he was a strong advocate of student-centred learning. He wrote several books on his philosophy of teaching, which was that “for most children progressive methods of education work better than conventional ones”. His published works included Real Education: Varieties of Freedom (1998), Lifelines (2004) and Children Don’t Start Wars (2010). Sadly for David, after almost…

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Brian Lee obituary | Education

iMy friend and former colleague Brian Lee, who has died aged 87, was a leading figure in the development of American studies in the UK, setting up the American studies department at the University of Nottingham in 1977. His published works included The Novels of Henry James: A Study of Culture and Consciousness (1978), Hollywood (1986) and American Fiction: 1865-1940 (1987). Born in Bispham, near Blackpool, to Leonard, a civil servant, and his wife, Ethel, who ran a B&B, Brian…

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John Hindley obituary | Education

My former teacher John Hindley, who has died aged 94, taught classics at schools in Surrey and Cornwall for most of his career, engendering the lifelong affection of many pupils. He was born in Rugby, Warwickshire, to Eric Hindley, a clergyman, and his wife, Frances (nee Parker). His father had mental health problems after service as an army chaplain during the first world war, so for the most part John was brought up by his mother and grandmother. He was…

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Margaret Kaye obituary | Education

My mother-in-law, Margaret Kaye, who has died aged 94, dedicated much of her life to social services, in particular the provision of support to vulnerable young children. She was born in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, and her childhood was spent in the shadow of poverty and mass unemployment. Her father, Jack Johnson, was a coalminer and local branch secretary of the Communist party, who was victimised after the general strike of 1926 and took to professional boxing, having been involved…

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