Active ECA member Mary Babris has died, aged 77 . ECA Chair Bernard Godding reflects on Mary's life.

The funeral for Mary Babris took place on Friday 25th January in the East Chapel at the Cambridge City Crematorium, in the centre of a region where she worked so tirelessly to promote learning.

“Whilst at the funeral it became clear that the recollections of Mary's family coincided with our own feelings about her life. Mary had a talent for bringing people together and an infectious enthusiasm for learning and life which encouraged us to work together. There is no doubt in my mind that without her the ECA would have ceased to exist when all the then Officers resigned en bloc without any planned succession. Back in 1994 she helped found a group in the East of England which saved our Adult Education Association, and has enabled it to grow for the future.

In the early days the Regional Committee used to meet around the dining table of her Cambridge home and these meetings acted as a springboard for a new National Executive to be formed in 1998. On the NEC where she served tirelessly for all of this time, she was an indefatigable member and later made a major contribution both to the conference team and as an assiduous Membership Secretary who maintained close personal relationships with key individuals.”

Mary was also remembered by her dressmaking tutor in whose class she had participated for many years- affirming in a very positive way the direct involvement of learners at the highest levels of the ECA’s decision making processes.

Her formal career, which started with primary school teaching, lead first to Headship, and then to teacher education.

Mary spent the last days of her life being helped and supported by the Arthur Rank Hospice. Her family therefore ask for donations to the charity in lieu of flowers, to help remember and celebrate her life.

As Bernard says: “Mary was a remarkable colleague and an absolute tower of strength. She will be remembered with great affection by everyone. We offer her husband Ted our deepest condolences.”

Mary Babris Presentation

Date Added: February 15th 2008