It is with great sadness that we share the news that our colleague Cynthia Pullin passed away in hospital earlier this month due to complications related to COVID-19. Many of you will have known Cynthia for a long time; she started to work part-time at JAGS in 1990 as a librarian and archivist, before taking over the role fully in the mid 1990s. Although she retired in 2013, she returned to JAGS regularly to cover for sickness and invigilate exams, up until just last month. She was instrumental in forming the thriving JAGS library that we know and love today. She started and ran author visits, Carnegie book groups, the staff book club, book sales on Founders' Day and the displays for alumnae at their events.
Before JAGS, Cynthia was a newspaper librarian at the Yorkshire Evening Press, a librarian at Chelsea College and King's College London, and librarian at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Brompton Hospital. She had a BA in History from York University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship from Leeds University.
Alison Venn, Cynthia's friend and former colleague has written, 'Cynthia was a breath of fresh air in the JAGS Library. It became a welcoming, open place in her reign where everyone was greeted with interest and a warm smile... It was such fun working with her for the annual Alumnae reunion in May. Suddenly, out of nowhere apparently, came these marvellous displays celebrating different year groups, or aspects of past JAGS life including sport, community action or music. I knew they meant a lot to the alumnae of all ages because after lunch the dining room emptied and you'd find everyone in the Library poring over photographs and old-style uniform, purse belts, badges and old copies of school magazines... As a friend she was always interested and supportive and I respected her judgement. Never pushy, but quietly confident, ready to make a positive contribution.'
In speaking about Cynthia, alumna Olivia Horne wrote: 'I remember her patience with my over enthusiasm as a library monitor, and the way she made exceptions with the borrowing limit when I couldn't choose between the many books I wanted to read, among many other kindnesses. She is a central figure in my memories from my early years at JAGS.'
Our thoughts are with Cynthia's husband, John, and her family and friends at this time. John has been pleased to hear from members of the JAGS community recently, and any messages for Cynthia's family can be passed on via firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of events in honour of Cynthia, celebrating her life, will be posted here once finalised. Instead of flowers, her family have asked friends to consider making a donation in her memory to Save the Children, a forward-looking charity whose broad aim of providing resources and succour to future generations transcends the current difficulties. The donation page can be found here