24 October 2007

Psychologist and General Synod member: Beverley Ruddockpact

Psychologist and General Synod member: Beverley Ruddockpact

The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth writes:
THE sudden death of Beverley Ruddock, on 9 October, is a real sadness to all who knew her, and a huge loss both to the diocese of Oxford and the Church of England. Although she is most associated with racial-justice issues, and used to joke that it was the bane of her life that whenever she got up to speak it would be about these, in fact her contributions were many and various, both within the Church and outside.

All this was on top of her job as a senior educational psychologist in a Berkshire local education authority, with specialities in autism and children in care. It came as a surprise to learn that she was 60. Her extensive activities and positive approach to life made her seem 20 years younger.

Beverley was a member of the General Synod from 1995 to 2005, and worked on the Dioceses, Pastoral and Related Measures group, and the vocations, recruitment, and selection committee. Within the diocese, she was a member of the Bishops’ Council, a Bishop’s selection adviser, and a vocations adviser. She was also a governor of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and a board member of STEM, the main agency for training in the diocese.

Chairing the diocesan committee for racial justice, she used all her considerable charm, persistence, and patience to get racial-justice issues taken seriously. Her work was recognised when she was made a member of the Order of St Frideswide, a rare honour for outstanding service by a lay person to the Church.

One of her great contributions was as a member of Parents and Children Together (PACT), where she led the development of a specific adoption service for black children from the care system, which was well received, and became well supported, by government. She also chaired the Adoption and Permanence Panel.

It is not surprising that this wide-ranging contribution to Church and society was further recognised in 2005, when Beverley was made a Deputy Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire.

Above all, behind this list of activities and achievements, there was a warm, good-humoured person of strong faith, whom others enjoyed being with, and for whom they would always try to do what she asked of them. As the Lord Lieutenant put it: “She had a wonderful personality.”

A colleague who worked with her in the Synod and in the diocese, Dr Anna Thomas-Betts, summed it up: “She was one of the busiest people one could imagine, and yet anyone who met her could not but be impressed by her lively and cheerful person.”

She will be much and widely missed, especially, of course, by her sons, Richard, Adrian, and Daniel.

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