We celebrate the life of the long term ECA member

Robin Springham was of the age group that were inevitably called ‘Christopher Robin’ – he even added the C to his signature. Chris joined The City Lit at Easter 1974 from Saint Alban’s College of FE, where he had run the Adult Education programme. His role at the Lit was as Vice Principal to Dr Ron South. Ron was a caring Principal and had also been a VP himself. The two hit it off immediately and were quite complimentary. Ron, quiet and very academic, Chris practical and somewhat larger than life – we all remember his booming “Hello dear boy/girl” – and both loved the Lit with a degree of passion. They were committed to its ethos, its caring approach to the needs of students, and the maintenance of its reputation and standards. Inevitably he became a leading figure in the ILEA Vice-Principals’ Association and an instigator of the VP lunches – never at the Lit, as “we don’t do domestic science”.

Chris was someone you could turn to in times of concern and trouble, although the support and advice given were always very honest, practical and demonstrated his good common sense. Ron South wrote in 1979:

“With the skilful management of … Chris Springham, it is not surprising that The City Lit succeeded in bucking the national trend of decline in adult education in this difficult time of economic constraint and industrial strife.”

Chris’ comment, about the situation, would have been, “It was ever thus dear boy” but he would have been far more modest about his own part in it.

A good friend, an excellent colleague, Chris was sorely missed at the Lit when he decided to retire. He said of one of his replacements, Julia Naish, “well she is far prettier than I ever was”. He decided to leave the Lit and the London Service at the death of the ILEA in 1990 – he just knew things were going to be very different in the future, as events subsequently proved. During his retirement, Chris maintained an active interest in AE and particularly in the Lit, and through his commitment to the ECA, kept in touch with developments. He was much loved, an irreplaceable character, without whom the world is a far poorer place.

William Tyler (former Principal) & John Cooper-Hammond (former Deputy Principal) colleagues and friends of Chris at The City Lit.

Throughout Chris's time at the City Lit that institution played a significant role in the work of the ECA. It was a mark of his enthusiasm for Adult Learning that Chris maintained his personal interest through membership of the Association until the end of his life. He was a regular supporter of ECA regional conferences, and consistent with the ECA's current mission, he had in recent years been actively involved in developing the Parish Plan for South Walsham. Through this, while happily retired, he continued to demonstrate his commitment to people in communities. He was a good friend and very supportive, especially during the early years of my Chairmanship. He will be much missed.

Bernard Godding, ECA Chairman

Date Added: July 31st 2008