The death has been announced of Alison Cribb, formerly Alison West, who was Chief Executive of Community Development Foundation for many years, and more recently of the National Extension College. Alison died at Addenbrookes Hospital on the afternoon of 29 December. Those who knew her will have no doubt of the ferocity with which she fought her cancer.
The funeral will be held at 11.15 am on Sunday 17 January at Cambridge Crematorium.
Alison always believed in me as a writer and now I find I cannot structure a sentence. Here are some adjectives that come to mind: inspirational, passionate, quick-thinking, lively, busy, wholly genuine, practical, argumentative, hugely generous, relentlessly positive.
Alison was politically very astute but could relate instantly to anyone at their level. Her bullshit-detector was always primed and utterly dependable. Unlike so many managers, she was never too important; but (as we saw when she faced up to the Home Secretary to defend her organisation against savage threatened cuts) would never shrink from her responsibilities.
My favourite recollection was of a time when England were playing a world cup match deemed of importance to some, during office hours. She knew the secretarial and reception staff wanted to watch it, so she set up a tv in her office and took over reception duties for the duration.
I think she was probably the best thing that ever happened to CDF. If you knew Alison, please feel free to add your own adjectives or anecdotes below.