27 October 2011
Anne Bate, former secretary to the Head of the School of Education, died recently. Peter Robinson, Emeritus Professor in Experimental Psychology (and former Dean and Head of the School of Education), offers his memories of her 'strength of character' and 'can-do, will-do attitude'.
The School underwent an horrendous few years. First it was threatened with total closure and then, to prevent redundancies, it was required to earn large sums of money over and above high set targets. Anne was in a key position and was magnificent in that role. She believed we would survive and told people so. She kept the progress of negotiations secret.
Along with other secretaries, she played a significant role in maintaining the morale of our overseas students both throughout the crisis and later. Students confided their troubles to her, and if she thought I could help, she would tell me. She helped them herself personally. Professionally she typed many theses for them, and if appropriate, improved the English and sometimes the content, as she did so. On the lighter side, she did not post any of my more forthright letters until she had brought them back to me 24 hours after I had first signed them. The same strength of character ensured that her family survived the tragedies that they had to endure in this period.
Throughout these hard times she maintained her cheerful laugh and 'can-do, will-do attitude'. Both the School of Education and her family are greatly indebted to her, as am I. She kept in touch with a number of overseas students to whom she had been particularly helpful, and with whom she formed lasting friendships.
John’s re-appearance in her life renewed her sparkle. After her marriage to him and their move to Liskeard in Cornwall, we saw little of each other, but it was clear from her emails and letters that life had become much happier and relaxing. It is to be regretted that this phase did not last longer, but many grateful and affectionate memories of her will live on.
University of Bristol,
Bristol, BS8 1TH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)117 928 9000