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Tribute by Heather Hardie

I have been a student, a colleague and a friend of Alexandra’s. I’m speaking today not only for myself, but also on behalf of Ross Cooper, Alison Swabey, Ann Butterfield and many others who worked with her.

We knew her as a dyslexia training consultant to the LLU+, formerly the London Language and Literacy Unit, at London South Bank University. She said these were the happiest years of her working life. She taught many professional dyslexia qualification courses, and helped to develop and teach a course to train its trainers. She also worked on a number of projects, most recently the European and employment projects, where she was involved in development, management, and the delivery of training.

The first thing that we all agreed about was that we always enjoyed working with her, and looked forward to it. We all found it was difficult to work with her without becoming her friend. She was easy to get along with, had a great sense of humour, and was always utterly reliable and totally professional.

She was also passionate about her subject, and had an enormous knowledge of dyslexia and language itself, which she loved. She always took a warm and genuine interest in dyslexic individuals, her students and their achievements. I remember one night when she phoned me after I’d had a long, tiring day, to tell me I’d done well on a course she taught me. At that moment, she was more pleased for me than I was able to be for myself; that was very characteristic of her.

Everything Alexandra did, she did well, to the highest standards. We all remember her cry of “This just will not do” - and that she would always be right. She had a very balanced sense of judgement, and great wisdom. She was able to be forthright but sensitive. We all learned from her, whether we were her students or not. Her manner was always calm, encouraging, supportive and reassuring, but at the same time, you couldn’t get away with any sloppiness.

She was also a very clear thinker, with the highest intellectual standards. She had that rare ability to be able to see a situation in overview, as well as being excellent on detail. Her solutions to problems were not only the best, but the most practical ones.

Today we want to say goodbye, Alexandra. Thank you for being our colleague, our teacher, our mentor and our warm and wonderful friend.