I have, alas, two deaths to report.
1925 – 23/12/2021.Eric was a founder member of Ghana School Aid. He had been an Education Officer in Ghana from 1952 to 1961, I quote from a tribute to him by his dear friends Kofi and Floria Ohene.
“Mr Eric Earle was the Secretary at the London Institute of Education when I was a graduate student there 1985 to 1987, under a British Government Scholarship. Eric invited me to his office in 1986 and shared with me his previous work in Ghana as an Education Officer in Cape Coast, Ho and Accra, during the latter part of the colonial period. He disclosed his continued interest in Ghana and the concern of his and other colonial service colleagues about the post-colonial developments in Ghana, particularly on Education and the intention to raise funds to support Ghana schools in poor communities. Eric’s love and interest in Ghana, his initiatives and good works led to the establishment of Ghana School Aid (GSA) in 1986.
Mr Eric Earle, my good friend and mentor, as we bid farewell we know that you have played your part by offering a lifetime of service to education and contributing to the growth and development of schools in Ghana. We will miss your friendship, good humour, humility, and desire to support the under privileged schools and society.”
The funeral service was well-attended. Eric’s four children were there, as well as his many grand-children. Wonderful tributes were read out, hymns were sung, blessings given. A good number of GSA committee members were at the funeral, but not Ted Mayne, our former chairman, as he had had a nasty fall and was hospitalised for a couple of days. We were all very impressed by the way the funeral was organised and by what we learned of the life of this outstanding Irishman, so full of energy and goodwill, an inexhaustible fount of knowledge about education and people in Ghana. We will truly miss him, and owe it to him to maintain his legacy to the best of our ability.
Here are pictures of the church service and the Committee members who attended the funeral:
Lalage was also in her nineties, a most energetic, clear-minded and observant woman. She was appointed Professor of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow. was awarded an OBE and no fewer than six honorary doctorates. She came to most of our Annual General Meetings and maintained wonderful support for GSA. She contributed much wisdom to our proceedings and, like Eric, will be sorely missed. Here is a summary of her professional life, written by a former colleague of hers:
Adult educator: advocate for the right for access to education, women’s literacy and decolonisation
Emeritus Professor Lalage Bown, OBE died in Shrewsbury hospital on 17 December 2021, aged 94, following a fall at home. An eminent women’s literacy advocate, she dedicated her life’s work to improving education for the disadvantaged, especially women, seeking to bring university opportunities to the widest possible sections of society.
Lalage was emersed in a tradition which regarded adult education as a catalyst for significant social change. Her ideas were informed by a post-war world in which many believed that the kind of injustices suffered under colonial rule had to end. But, beyond this, in her radical way, she also saw the need to develop new inclusive, post-colonial approaches to education, including the reform of university curricula. She devoted her life to this mission, inspiring and challenging all she met- professionals and learners- across many countries in Africa and Europe. (…)
After her studies, Lalage applied in 1949 for a resident tutor post based at the Department of Extra-Mural Studies of University College of the Gold Coast (subsequently Ghana). As an African colleague said, she chose to serve overseas, leaving behind the comfort and serenity of her environment for the more challenging terrain of Africa. During her interview, she was asked “Now Miss Bown, supposing you were to get the job and you were in the jungle in a car and your car broke down, how do we know you wouldn’t have a fit of hysterics?’’ She simply replied, “Well sir, if you don’t give me the job, you’ll never find out, will you?” She was given the job. (…) At just 22, Lalage travelled via Senegal to Ghana where she became involved in teaching African literature and arts and helped to create the first African folk high school.
Over a period of 30 years in Africa she became the first field resident tutor in the Extra-Mural Department at Makerere University College in Uganda, and held various positions at the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, the University of Zambia and the University of Lagos. In Zambia.
Professor Lalage Bown was an outstanding communicator: she wrote, edited or contributed to around 26 books and monographs plus around 86 articles. In her leisure time she enjoyed travel, reading and entertaining friends. She was living proof of the adage “If you never stop learning, you never grow old.” One colleague said if he were to highlight one special characteristic of Lalage’s among so many, it would be her open, friendly, and collaborative attitude to working with other people. He adds that she was not self-seeking or competitive but enjoyed bringing out the best in others- she was interested in and valued every contribution, yet if she disagreed with you, she would let you know in a straight way. (…) In the words of one of her African colleagues, Lalage was a trail blazer in the global Adult Education movement. Her commitment to, and insight about, democratic adult education was unbounded. She succeeded in giving Adult and Continuing Education a recognised profile as a major field of education policy in Europe, Africa and beyond.