Yesterday at Ruskin College we held a memorial event to celebrate the life of Chris Wilkes, the Principal of Ruskin College who died unexpectedly on 18th March.
The event drew many current staff members, and a diverse body of ex-Ruskin staff from the period of Chris's time at Ruskin, the bulk of which he spent in the role of General Secretary on appointment in 1991.
I left Ruskin College in 1991 and so missed meeting Chris, however, we did meet when I worked at the WEA and Northern College, and it was a great privilege to be under his leadership when I started to work at Ruskin College, first as a visiting tutor, from 2000.
Many people made a contribution yesterday, including Ruth Spelman, Chief Executive of the WEA, and Stephen Yeo, ex-Principal.
The overwhelming sentiment expressed was of a kind, caring, considerate man, with a profound commitment to the development and delivery of education which could transform the lives of working class women and men.
I spent many very happy hours with Chris on a variety of areas of work and always felt his genuine support and care for my role at Ruskin. Chris was also my main encouragement to start my doctorate research and I am aim to dedicate this to him.
I was privileged yesterday to host the memorial event, and this allowed me to introduce speakers, and I concluded by saying that the event marked not the end of the way that we remember Chris's legacy, but just the beginning.