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News > Remembering JAGS alumnae > Remembering Barbara Forrai

Remembering Barbara Forrai

Mrs Barbara Evelyn Forrai née Lockwood BEM, BA (Westminster), MA (Oxon), Dip Ed (Oxon), 9 Feb 1927 – 4 Mar 2020.

Barbara being awarded her British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in 2017.
Barbara being awarded her British Empire Medal (Civil Division) in 2017.

Remembering Mrs Barbara Evelyn Forrai née Lockwood BEM, BA (Westminster), MA (Oxon), Dip Ed (Oxon) (9 Feb 1927 – 4 Mar 2020) who died at home aged 93 years from Pulmonary Fibrosis which had worsened over the last year and a half.

Barbara taught at JAGS starting part-time in 1973, full-time from 1978, through the sudden death of her dearly loved husband in 1980, till retirement in 1987 as Head of Department for Mathematics and the then new Computer Studies Department which she had set up with the support of Jan Pringle. When consulting a computer expert friend as to whether a younger person might not be better for the task, he told her that computers develop so fast that they are continually new to everyone and so she accepted the project. She also enjoyed accompanying the skiing and other school trips. Her pupils were very dear to her and she was enormously thrilled by their achievements, small or large, mathematical or otherwise.

As she was retiring from JAGS she continued with her many interests, piano, improving her sight-reading, writing of various types, avid reading, family history research, hosting foreign visitors, tennis into her nineties, as well as taking up new interests so gaining a second degree in Russian which she later taught at Bromley High School GDST plus Mathematics which she also taught at Croydon High School GDST. From 1999 until only days before she died, when she was planning on returning from a bout of pneumonia, she was a part-time telephone-tutor at the Student Support Centre / Educational Back-up Services.

Barbara also continued her life of service and long-term commitment to helping others by volunteering for the British Heart Foundation, eventually serving as Hon Chairman and Events Organiser for the Croydon Branch, as well as, In Memoriam Secretary which she continued doing until her death, dealing with well over £400,000 in In memoriam donations with expertise in Gift Aid. Her other voluntary work included Chairman of the local Residents Association, Shirley Park Lawn Tennis Committee Member, a month assisting “Helping Hands” ChildAid, a charity for Street Children in Chita, Eastern Siberia which she was still supporting by giving talks and Powerpoint presentations about her travels. Amongst other awards of appreciation, in 2017 she received the British Empire Medal (Civil Division), in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to charity in the UK and Russia.

In between Barbara continued her intrepid travels, including visits to Antarctica, the Arctic, Franz Joseph Land, The Americas, Kashmir and Australia (with Dr Joy Stern also an ex-staff member of JAGS) and several areas of Russia, many of which involved jumping in and out of Zodiacs and other adventurous activities, the most recent being, aged 91, climbing into a basket to go up in a hot air balloon over a Delaware fete.

Her family are thankful that she was able to lead such a full life up until the end. They note that she was always keen to learn new skills, most diligent about her studies and regular exercises and always ready to join in and have a go or give a helping hand, while still thinking of things from the point of view of others and taking time to care for those around her, all of which brought her an enormous number of cherished friends across the world. Thankfully, in these times of lockdown, there was no funeral or service as it was her wish that her body be used for medical science, so she continues her life-long passion for education even in her death, at the Cardiff School of Biosciences where a beautiful, permanent memorial to all who have taken this course of action reads;

“Alive we thought beyond our lives to give our bodies as a book for you to read”

Should anyone wish to commemorate her, she requested donations to the British Heart Foundation in her memory. Please be sure to include the details for Gift Aid if you are eligible. You can find details for making a donation to the British Heart Foundation here. You can also donate by telephone on 0300 330 3322, or by post. 

Please do share any memories of Barbara with us via marketing@jags.org.uk and we can share those here, if you wish. We are also able to pass on messages to Barbara's family via this email address.

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