It was with great sadness that we learned that Elspeth Richards, Futures for Women Trustee and former Chair, had passed away at her home on Monday 7 August.
Elspeth became a Trustee of FfW in 2005 and held the position of Chair between 2011 and 2014. Whilst in the position of Chair she worked closely with our current Secretary, Jane, during her induction period. Elspeth also organised our 2013 fundraising literary lunch in Bruton where Award-winning Biographer, Critic, Broadcaster and Novelist Victoria Glendinning came along to deliver her talk “On Women and a Few Men”.
Elspeth spent her childhood on a hill farm in rural Wales. This gave her a life-long love of the countryside. At 18 she went to study drama at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. After graduating she taught English and Drama in a range of secondary schools in both the state and independent sector in London and the West Country.
Much of her more recent work was with newly qualified teachers who frequently develop voice problems early in their careers. Elspeth helped professional voice users with presentation and vocal skills. She was also a Diocesan Voice Consultant and ran voice workshops for newly ordained clergy, an increasing number of whom are now women.
As the mother of two daughters, Elspeth believed that educated and qualified women are valued in the work place, in the community, and that they are a powerful influence in their families. She therefore became interested in the work of FfW precisely because we help women to fulfil their ambitions by completing their courses and becoming self-supporting. In this regard Elspeth took a special interest in selecting our candidates for interview and was a member of our short-listing panel. Her contributions to our discussions were always informed, perceptive and constructive. Elspeth also secured, through her son Simon, the invaluable support of ING in making rooms and refreshments available for our meetings in London.
Elspeth’s input to our Trustee meetings will be missed greatly. Our thoughts are with Elspeth’s husband Dan, and their family and friends, as they adjust to life without her.