Diana Poon and Max von Rettig write:
Max von Rettig (History at SSEES BA, 2009) proposed to Diana Poon (Economics and Statistics BSc, 2010) in Venice back in July 2011. We will be getting married in London on 12th June 2012, and have a blessing in Helsinki on 15th June 2012.
Sarah Anne Anderson, formerly Wiseman, née Levenson, 4 May 1943 to 21 June 2012. Sarah graduated from UCH in 1966 (set 156), and after a few years as a health visitor married and became a full-time mother of three sons, and then of a daughter by her second husband. Sarah was an expert on art and antiques, and few knew more about pre-industrial revolution English furniture, silver and glass. She is sorely missed, and is survived by four children and eight grandchildren.
We have had news from David Craig in Canberra that Professor Laurie
Lyons has died. He was born in 1922 and did his Ph.D. here with
Professor Craig in 1952. He returned to the staff of University of
Sydney, then in 1963 became the first professor of physical chemistry at
the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Interview by the
Australian Academy of Science.
It is with sadness that I am writing to inform you that Stephen Johnson, finance manager at NHS Kingston and more recently at the cluster, died tragically last Thursday in a paragliding accident in Turkey.
Stephen worked for the NHS for over 20 years. His colleagues describe him as a lovely, gentle man and a valuable member of the team, who still maintained strong links with Kingston even after moving to NHS South West London.
Stephen was a true gentleman, kind and quiet, with a great sense of humour and a huge heart. He was willing to help everyone and outside of work he was always fundraising and an active member of the Rotary Club. He also loved cricket and enjoyed many days in the Mound Stand at Lords supporting England and Middlesex.
Stephen was an exceptional member of the finance team, respected by all of those who worked with him, and he will be greatly missed by all his friends and colleagues.
It is with much sadness that UCL has learnt of the death of William Eric Harbord on 22nd July 2011. As a student William was President of the UCL Students Union in 1947 and had a long and close association with UCL. He will be greatly missed by the whole UCL community.
Times Online Announcement
Both Mike and his wife, Sara Al Bader, died following a car accident just North of Montreal, November 20th 2010. (They had married August 2008). They were on their way back to the UK after working in Canada.
A graduate of Reading University (Literature , Film & Drama) - 1997 and Goldsmiths (M A in Cultural Studies) - 2003, Mike had worked in Research, Press Relations, Communications and related fields, travelling when possible.
While working as an urban designer at Turley Associates, Savile Row, W1, Mike studied at The Bartlett/UCL and, once the M Phil was completed, had gone to Toronto to be with Sara who was finishing her PHd at the University, whilst contributing to The Bill Gates Foundation initiatives in Africa . In Toronto, Mike had worked for Brook McIlroy and The Open City Group, as well as other Community-Based projects and written articles for North American publications.
They were returning to the UK to resettle here, as the PHd was complete and Mike was due to start at Publica Associates on the 1st December, just before his 36th birthday.
He was known as a compassionate, interested and enthusiastic young man and is mourned by family, friends, former colleagues and people who knew him only briefly . Tributes have attested to his organisation, easy charm, inspiration of others and his full invovement in anything he undertook .
The tragic passing of these two talented, imaginative young people has left a huge hole in so many lives .
If you would like to get in touch with Mike's family please contact Alumni Relations.
(UCL History, 1986)
Born 1963, died 15 August 2008
As a pupil at the Royal Grammer School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Andrew was inspired by the teaching of Mr Alan Mitchell and History became Andrew’s chosen subject. At University College London he took a First in Medieval and Modern History, the Sir William Meyer Prize, and jointly, the intercollegiate Derby Prize for best First of the year. His postgraduate research work concerned the role of Islam in the history and culture of West Africa, under the direction of Louis Brenner at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
He went to live in a Malian home in Segou, on the banks of the Niger in the cotton-growing area of the Sahel, south of the Sahara. From there he travelled with local people over much of the West Africa, developing an insight into how societies are shaped by their history, religions and cultures. There followed extended stays in Paris where contact with the African communities in the 18th Arrondissement deepened his interest in the politics, economics, cuisine and above all, the music of Francophone Africa.
On his return he was invited to join the Economist Intelligence Unit as African Editor. Later, he became a freelance writer contributing to a range of journals, newsletters, professional briefing services and broadcasts on BBC and RTF. In recent years his expert witness reports were frequently critical in ensuring that African asylum seekers to the UK got a fair hearing on appeal.
His love of Africa was deep but unblinkered. He experienced a military coup in Mali, was an EU/UN observer at elections in Nigeria and Tanzania, was with French Special forces in Djibouti, and had a rushed escape from Chad after a brush with the security services of a government unappreciative of his kind of probing journalism.
Music was fundamental in Andrew’s life. Early exposure to the heavy rock music of the 1970s (typically ahead of his age) was followed by punk bands like the Clash. In London he worked at the legendary Ray’s Jazz Shop, at the heart of Soho’s jazz community. It was inevitable that he would embrace the emergence in the 1980s of African performers in the UK scene. He made his pilgrimage to Timbuktu to meet the guitarist Ali Farka Toure, made recordings of Fulani flautists in the field, and of Toumani Diata in his home. In recent years, he wrote pungent reviews for the world music journal Songlines.
Andrew is buried in Foulridge churchyard, among his roots in North East Lancashire. School friends were pallbearers at his funeral. His headstone reads: Historian and Africaniste.
Alison and Peter Manley
A memorial services for friends and colleagues of Professor Le Quesne will take place on Saturday 26th November 2011 at 2pm. The address of the church is as follows:
St John’s Church
St John’s Wood High Street
Having achieved the highest possible grades at Advanced level, Mel Spooner joined Cambridge University to become part of Downing College. She soon established herself there as a top scholar, attaining Whitby Scholarships in each of her years and then the Senior Whitby Scholarship for passing with First class each year of her degree. Not confined to academic achievements, Mel also found time to cox the Downing Men’s rowing crew, play clarinet in two university groups, take part in fundraising events and volunteer for charities. She graduated from Cambridge in 2002 with a BA (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Pathology), achieving First Class.
Mel moved to London to undertake her clinical training and joined the Royal Free and University College Medical School. Her high levels of achievement continued: in her first clinical year she won the 1st Magrath Prize for overall performance, 1st Filliter, Kingston Fowler and Tuke Prize for Pathology, 1st John Murray and Sir William Gowers Prize for Pharmacology and 1st David Bailey, Erichsen and Liston prizes for Surgery, completing the year attaining the William Marsden Scholarship for best overall performance 1st clinical year.
During her final clinical year Mel spent her elective placement in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, experiencing health care delivery in a third world county first hand, working in both hospital paediatrics and with the flying doctors service. Ever generous with her time she volunteered throughout her time in London as a playworker at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Mel graduated in June 2005 with a Distinction in Clinical Practice, achieving first prize for Acute and Chronic Medicine, Fourth prize for overall performance. She was nominated from 1,500 students to go forwards to medal examination, achieving the Bronze Medal from the University of London.
Mel started her postgraduate career in Basildon, Lister and University College Hospitals and completed MRCP parts 1 and 2 before gaining a specialist Paediatric training post. Working first in Lewisham and then at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, Mel was a talented, committed and caring doctor, dedicated to her work, patients and their parents with whom she was hugely popular. She worked hard to complete the rigorous MRCPCH examinations, achieving college membership in July of this year.
Mel Spooner is remembered as a kind, generous, gentle and caring physician, daughter, sister and friend. She always made time for those who needed her, supported and encouraged those around her and amazed and inspired those who knew her. She is survived by her parents Jane and Robert, brother Simon and sister-in-law Nicola.
Philip J. Callaghan, 58, born Cardiff, Wales and formerly of Mendham, (New Jersey, USA) died at home surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 13, 2011. Phil is survived by his beloved wife and best friend of almost 30 years, Lorraine, his loving children Lauren, Matthew, and Frances; his cherished brother Robert with his wife, Lynne and their children Holly and Thomas in England.
Memories of Dr Tsewang Yishey Pemba by Harald Lipman, UCL Medical School 1955
Dr Tsewang Yishey Pemba MBBS (London) FRCS (England) 2 June 1932 to 26 November 2011
Standing outside the door of J Z Young’s office in the Anatomy Department UCH, on an overcast morning in September 1949, stood a slim young man in a light-grey double breasted suit. By chance, I also had arrived early for the first day of our 1st MB course and struck up a conversation with him.
We immediately clicked. The start of a friendship lasting 62 years. He needed to study Chemistry, Botany & Zoology, I needed Botany & Zoology. We had plenty of spare time during the course of the ensuing year to get to know one another.
I invited him home to St John’s Wood to meet my parents and they were charmed by Tsewang. Immediately he became part of our family. Gradually we learnt of his background. Born in Gyantse in Tibet, the son of an enlightened father Pemba Tsering who worked with the British Mission in Tibet and later, after 1947, with the Indian Government. Until the age of 9 years Tsewang had had no formal education and then was sent to Victoria School in Kurseong India, a school run on British public school lines where “ God Save the King” was sung on festive occasions. There he studied until passing the Senior Cambridge Higher Certificate in 1948. Then spending a few months at St Joseph’s College, Kalimpong prior to arriving in London to enrol at UCL. The first Tibetan to study Medicine in Europe.
1st MB was fun with plenty of time for ex-curricular activities. Stage hands for a production of Housman’s “Little Lives of St Francis”, College rags, beer in the Union and coffee in Bunjies a newly opened coffee bar of Charing Cross Road. Long serious discussions about philosophy, politics, art, literature, music, theatre, life in Tibet, girl friends and a host of other matters. Playing football was one of Tsewang’s pleasures. Following one or two falls, which dented his pride, he finally mastered the art of bicycling. He had many good friends in other departments, amongst them John Dodgson studying English, Tony Valentine studying Dentistry. On one memorable occasion Tsewang was invited to judge the Tibetan Lhasa Apsos at Cruft’s Dog Show. He knew little, if anything about them and didn’t particularly care for dogs, but gave in his inimitable manner a very well considered judgement.
His de facto guardian in the UK, Professor Clark, previously Headmaster Victoria School, kept a close eye on his welfare and had arranged accommodation with a family, the Hensmans, in Finchley, in a house opposite the statue of the Naked Lady.
2nd MB commenced in 1950. Sadly, several of our close friends, all older men who had served in the armed forces, had failed their exams and did not continue in medical studies. New entrants joined us. Anatomy lessons in the dissection room, with four to six students at each dissecting table. Tsewang & I, Andrew Mathieson. Phil Jones, Theresa Piper, Rodney de Sarum amongst others.
Holidays were spent climbing and camping in the Lake District carrying heavy rucksacks. Tsewang’s comment at the end of a tiring day was that every day before breakfast his aged grandmother climbed steeper mountains in the Himalayas. A wonderful trip in my small car around Ireland followed by a very rough passage across the Irish sea which Tsewang, never a great sailor, bore stoically. A stay at a monastery in Wales where to his horror the food was atrocious and worse the monks were teetotal.
Recollections of hearing on the radio of Hillary & Tensing’s first ascent of Everest.
Clinical studies in UCH started in 1952 with an initial induction course in nursing. We became expert at mitreing the corners of ward beds. A memorable period was spent studying Infectious Diseases, whilst resident in Neasden Hospital for two weeks. On arrival being lectured by the Medical Director Twining McMath and reminded that all nurses should be respected as they were somebody's sister or daughter. Standing in line before him in his office whilst he scolded us for placing a jerry pot and nurse’s bra on top of a flag pole in the hospital grounds. Poor Tsewang had fractured his leg playing football and, still in a plaster cast, certainly hadn’t climbed the flag pole. Numerous parties with nurses from the Central Middlesex, studying at Neasden.
Hearing of Stalin’s death whilst travelling in D R Davis’s car to watch an inter-medical schools football match. Hearing on the radio Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile. Celebrating Tsewang’s & my 21st birthday at a party in my parent’s flat.
Finally in 1955 successfully graduating MBBS (London). Around this time Tsewang heard the sad news that both his parents had been drowned in a flash flood in Gyantse in the Himalayas. Before he returned to India as head of the family, we went on a trip to Denmark & Sweden by boat and train. Staying in a forest near Orebro with a Swedish friend Anna Karen and her family. Tsewang’s family had by then left Tibet, following the Chinese occupation and after our return to the UK he returned to live and work in Darjeeling.
Tsewang was now the first Tibetan to graduate in Medicine in Europe, but being unable to stay and work in Pre-registration hospital jobs he was not then registered as a doctor in the UK.
On return to India in 1955, following a short hospital appointment in Kalimpong he was recruited to work as a medical officer in Paro, Bhutan. There his entire staff consisted of two untrained schoolboys. There was no electricity, tap water, modern roads or modern communications. During his three years there he was obliged to practise medicine, surgery and obstetrics, and obtained an enormous fund of experience.
He found time to write his first book “Young Days in Tibet” an autobiographical account of his early life. The sleeve jacket quoted “ For a country that by repute is mysterious Tibet has been remarkably well publicised. Its mysteries have been unveiled and its secrets divulged by a score of English, French, German and American writers. Here, for a change, is a book written by a Tibetan”. During this time he met and married Tsering Sangmo, lady companion to the Bhutanese Queen Mother. She bore him four sons and a daughter. One son sadly predeceased him.
They moved back to Darjeeling In 1959 and there he worked in Dooars & Darjeeling Medical Association Hospital run by the Indian Tea Association. Following an uprising against the Chinese occupiers in March 1959 the Dalai Lama had been forced to flee into exile in India and there was an influx of Tibetan refugees into Darjeeling. Tsewang spent all his free time looking after the sick and needy as a volunteer at the Tibetan Refugee School and Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre.
In 1965 he returned to the UK to sit the FRCS examination. However, before he could apply, it was necessary for him to be on the Medical Register. The next twelve months he spent in Edgware General and Ipswich Hospitals in first a medical and then surgical pre-registration jobs. Often he found that from his own experience acquired working in Bhutan he was more knowledgeable in practice than the Consultants. His wife and young family had accompanied him to the UK, but when following completion of the House jobs, he started to study for the Primary Fellowship they returned home to Bhutan. Tsewang, staying in London with his brother Norbu, then completely shut himself away for four months and concentrated on his studies of anatomy & physiology. When he emerged to sit the examination he was so successful that he was awarded the Hallet Prize. Shortly afterwards he sat the Final part of the examination, passed it with ease and in 1967 obtained the FRCS (England).
In 1966 his novel, “Idols on the Path”, based on the Tibetan diaspora, was published.The first novel written in English by a Tibetan.
Returning to India he resumed his work in Darjeeling and moved back to Bhutan in the mid-1980s to become Superintendent of the National Referral Hospital in Thimpu the capital. He remained there in that post until 1992, assisted with devising the Bhutan National Formulary and in 1989 represented Bhutan as a delegate to the WHO in Geneva. Tsewang served as Consulting Physician to the Bhutan Royal Family.
We maintained a close relationship. My daughter, Amanda, during her ‘gap year’ celebrated her 18th birthday with Tsewang and his family in Bhutan in 1979 and my son, Marc, then a medical student, undertook his ‘elective’ in 1986 in Bhutan observing & studying with Tsewang.
On retiring he moved back to Darjeeling where he was a highly acclaimed and popular physician/surgeon. Walking down the steep high street in Darjeeling with Tsewang every few yards he would be greeted by friends and patients, amongst whom he numbered Sherpa Tensing, who accompanied Hillary on the first successful ascent of Everest (Chomo Lunghma “Holy Mother” in Tibetan). He travelled widely in Europe, Japan and lived in New York between 2000 and 2005. He loved life in the Big Apple and taught various medical subjects to undergraduates. By then four of his children were living in the USA. One son, Riga had qualified as a doctor in UCH and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Due to his wife Tsering’s illness he returned to Darjeeling in 2005.
A dream-like aethereal visit to Tibet in 2007 recaptured old memories and renewed ties though he saw a totally changed country.
He was devastated by the death of his youngest son Karma in 2009.
Outside medical practice his main interests were reading English and Tibetan literature, studying philosophy both Eastern and Occidental, playing mah-jong whilst drinking chang (Tibetan rice wine). He continued writing up to his last days and left an unpublished manuscript.
In a written contribution in 2010 on the occasion of the 55th reunion of his colleagues from UCHMS he wrote “ I try to be Aware: to Contemplate: to Understand. Minding this Supreme Triad enjoined by our venerable Tibetan sages. All other activities of this life, they preach, are mere ‘chasing of shadows’. Meanwhile I sit quietly, watching the sun over the Himalayan peaks. T.S .Eliot’s words disturb me:
‘With the voices singing in our ears saying
That this was all folly’ “
He had discussed birth & death with many saints, philosophers and religious teachers but had heard nothing to convince him why we are born and why we die. He took consolation in the last words of the Buddha “Decay is inherent in all component things. All things dear and near must one day part. Work out your own Salvation with diligence”
In his last email to me on 10th November 2011 he wrote
“Then at the end of Dec-Jan there is a family gathering of Norbu, Norzin, Norden and TYP--- perhaps who knows the last. 'Ah moon of my delight, that knowest no wane... how oft rising shall she look, through this same garden after me ...in vain!' and 'When thyself with shining foot shall pass....over the same spot where I made one, Turn down an empty glass!' ”
Having been diagnosed with and treated for a serious illness one year earlier, on 26th November 2011 after a full and remarkable life Tsewang turned down an empty glass and died peacefully in his sleep.
On Saturday 14th January 2012, the 49th day after his passing, at a Buddhist ceremony in Darjeeling, my son Marc and I, with Tsewang’s family and friends, celebrated the successful transmigration of his soul.
Professor Williams was a man who was outstanding in so many ways.
He was born in Blaenrhondda, where his father was a school teacher, and attended Pentre Grammar School. From there he went to University College London, which at that time during the war had been evacuated to Aberystwyth. His parents had retired to Porthcawl but finding that their pension became inadequate, became for five years licensees of the Skirrid Mountain Inn at Llanvihangel Crucorney in Monmouthshire and to which Gareth would return for vacations,
Professor Williams studied Chemistry and after graduating stayed in London to carry out research under the supervision of Sir Christopher Ingold, leading to his PhD degree. He then moved to an academic post at King’s College London where, in collaboration with Professor Donald Hey, he was involved in investigations into free radical chemistry – a subject of immense importance today.
Professor Williams’ Lectures were clear and concise and his light touch supervision got the best out of his research students, many of who had subsequently very distinguished careers. They had been taught to think for themselves and stand on their own feet scientifically.
Subsequently Professor Williams held a readership at Birkbeck College before succeeding Peter de la Mare as Professor and head of Department of Chemistry at Bedford College.
Professor Williams’ leadership came to the fore and he welded his staff into an effective unit in teaching and research. His own research covered both free radical and organic fluorine chemistry.
In the 1980’s pressure was on to have larger units in the University of London and Professor Williams was disappointed when a proposed union of Bedford and Kings College collapsed. He subsequently saw off proposals for the closure of chemistry at Bedford College and then saw him moved with his Department to Egham when Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges merged.
There was an international component to his Chemistry as he had spent a postdoctoral year with Morris Kharasch at Chicago and subsequently held visiting professorships in Nigeria, Auckland, New Zealand and Kansas USA. Their experience probably accounted in part for this wider ranging and diverse knowledge of chemistry that he possessed.
Professor Williams was a skilled chairman and administrator not only in his college department but also when serving a three-year term and Chairman of the University of London Board of Studies in Chemistry and Chemical Industries. He also effectively chaired a committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry charge with recommending whether particular courses involving chemistry, taught in universities would qualify successful student for admission to the Royal Society of Chemistry. Nothing escaped his eagle eye and courses were regularly referred back for amendment enabling the exacting standards of the Royal College of Chemistry to be met.
Professor Williams served as a Justice of the Peace in Brent for many years, a responsibility that he tool seriously and very much enjoyed.
His interests were varied and far reaching. Choral singing and music were always an important part of his life and for most of his adult years he sang bass in church choirs and smaller choral groups.
Being Welsh, rugby played a prominent role and Professor Williams was for many years involved with the London Welsh RFC Rugby Club.
Professor Williams was a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers and a Freeman of the City of London.
Professor Williams has influenced many people, all in a most positive manner. He was a wonderful man, husband and father and a very special person.
Written by Professor David Davies and Barbara Williams
Full obituary from 'The Times'.
Teacher, town councillor, museum curator and campaigner
In whatever she turned her hand to, Liz-Anne Bawden was a lively, energetic and determined worker for the improvement of society, her greatest contribution being her long-running and successful campaign to raise money to revive and extend the fossil museum in Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast where Dorset and Devon meet.
Lisbeth-Anne Howard Davies was born in 1931 in Saltburn, Yorkshire, to Bill Davies, an accountant who served in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and the Home Guard in the Second, and his wife Ella.
Liz-Anne won a Staffordshire county scholarship to Abbots Bromley School, Staffordshire, and then an exhibition to St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she read history. On graduation, she joined the Foreign Office. But on marrying Harry Bawden (whose first wife was the novelist Nina Bawden, obituary, August 23, 2012), in 1955, and giving birth to two children, she chose to dedicate herself to her family.
Long intrigued by photography and art, she started a film society in Blackheath, southeast London. 1965-1984 she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, William Coldstream, as Professor of Art at the Slade, was Bawden’s head of department and a supporter of the new film unit. Bawden made significant contributions to all aspects of life at the Slade — part of University College London — as a teacher, a scholar and an administrator. She also had the gift of being able to make her students laugh.
In 1967 she undertook a tour for the British Council to Czechoslovakia and Hungary and later visited Romania and Bulgaria for the British Council and British Film Institute.
Bawden, who became friends with the French director François Truffaut, was critical of what she regarded as the “sterile theoretical debate” in which she said film studies had become mired in the early 1970s. “Deconstructionism is all very well,” she argued, “but a base of good solid research wasn’t there; it was all talk. Awful jargon emerged which became gobbledygook in the hands of all but the most capable student.”
She found solace in the rationality of University College governance committees. She also joined the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and progressed in 1976 to the “rough and tumble” of the national executive. She became national president in 1980. There she was passionate in her support for adult education, early on promoting the now familiar idea of life-long learning as well as giving a second chance to those whom the education system had failed the first time around. Bawden gained political skills and experience negotiating with government, including Margaret Thatcher as Education Secretary, and students, notably Jack Straw as president of the National Union of Students; as well as trying to curb the excesses of left-wingers in the AUT and the TUC.
Despite these duties she found time to edit The Oxford Companion to Film (1976), the first Companion to include living people.
In the 1980s Bawden moved to Lyme Regis on the Dorset-Devon border and opened the Portland Gallery with her partner and taught herself how to frame paintings.
Swiftly involving herself in the community, she was elected to the Lyme Regis Town Council, later becoming chairman of the planning committee. There she was involved in the building of a new medical centre in 1992 and the creation of the coastal protection scheme including Gun Cliff Walk which won an English Heritage award.
The writer and Lyme resident John Fowles, admiring her dedication to the community and her scholarship, persuaded her to take over from him as honorary curator of the Lyme Regis Museum, which was under threat of closure.
Bawden raised more than £750,000 over 12 years in a public appeal to rescue, restore and improve the museum building and even more to create new galleries Sir David Attenborough reopened the museum in 1999.
Twelve years in the relentless pursuit of excellence in positioning Lyme Regis as the “birthplace of palaeontology and the earth sciences”, as well as celebrating its history and literary connections, resulted in Lyme’s Philpot Museum (the Lyme Regis Museum) being shortlisted in the European Museum of the Year competition; being runner-up to the Henley Rowing Museum in the UK National Heritage Museum of the Year, winning the Design Award; and winning the Gulbenkian Prize in 1999. Bawden was appointed MBE.
Tim Badman, now the director of the World Heritage Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature said that Bawden’s clarity of purpose and quality of design and delivery at the museum set the standard for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site to follow. “Liz-Anne was just a wonderful breath of fresh air, unstuffy, no-nonsense, tell-it-how-it-is in the best of ways, and a great clear thinker,” he said.
In June last year Bawden was recognised as an Honoured Citizen for her work at the Lyme Regis Museum.
In her spare time Bawden enjoyed cooking and gardening.
She was divorced from her husband in 1971 and is survived by her daughter and son.
Liz-Anne Bawden, MBE, teacher, town councillor, museum curator and campaigner, was born on November 29, 1931. She died on November 6, 2012, aged 80
I thought that UCL might want to hear of the death of my uncle, William G D Sykes (Bill) who was Chaplain to UCL from 1969 until 1978. He was of course never a member of the staff, because he worked with “the Godless of Gower Street”. Nevertheless, he was a well known and well-loved figure who contributed widely to the life of the College. He lived in the chaplaincy when it was in Gower St, and then later when it moved to 13 Woburn Square. Both were very lively places and operated as student houses, as well as centres for religious activity. He was also part of the ministry team at the University Church of Christ the King at Byng Place.
He died, aged 75, at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, on 17 January 2015, following complications of pneumonia, which he went down with when he was in Switzerland over the Christmas period. He had looked after the English
Church in Muerren at Christmas since about 1979.
He left UCL for University College Oxford where he also became Chaplain. His ministry was focussed on developing a huge network of reflection groups within both his college and the wider university. He had piloted this approach to his ministry at UCL. He published a number of books, which were designed to aid this type of group: Visions of Faith, Visions of Love, Visions of Hope; Visions of Glory; The Eternal Vision and lastly, A Still More Excellent Way. These are collections of quotations of the most amazing diversity from world philosophy, religion, and literature. I myself studied at UCL whilst he was Chaplain, and realised he was not only a wonderful uncle but a quite extraordinary man in his working life.
For most of his life he owned no property apart from a very superior book collection, and some rather alarming kukris from his time as an officer in the Gurkhas. He travelled all over the world, marrying, baptising and sometimes burying people. He was focussed on what he did. He didn’t waste time: he was an early adherent of the filofax, long before it was a fashionable accessory! When he gave people his time, then it was theirs completely. He had a capacity to listen and to take peoples' thoughts seriously. He was a passionate believer in the importance of developing what a person truly believes, and helping them to hear themselves as they find out.
I think he was richest man I have ever met: in love, intelligence, compassion, and humour. His life overflowed with the things he enjoyed: people to talk to, books to read; friends to celebrate with; journeys to exciting places. I feel he reached an amazing level of self-realisation through his calling, and with that, so did very many other people. I am so very proud to have known him.
He never married, but leaves his twin sister Margaret, and sisters Janet and Anne; seven nieces and nephews, and nine great nieces and nephews. His sister Rosemary died in 2010.
Susan Mosley (Taylor)
(English & Linguistics 1977-80)