Margaret Dewey, who sadly has died recently, was a key part of the lively NATFHE branch at the College of North-West London. She was an ESOL lecturer and at some point in charge of ESOL in the long-gone days when the government encouraged and almost properly funded ESOL, even if college management had, we suspected, a nasty habit of siphoning off some of its funds. The College was spread over many sites (Margaret mainly in Harlsden) and the union provided a bridge for its left-wing activists. We had a ‘Rank and File ‘ college grouping , even if we didn’t call ourselves that, where we plotted and became good friends. Our branch, with Margaret in the fore, raised issues which we regularly-though not always – won at college, regional and national levels, ranging from confronting racism towards staff or students to pay rates.
But Margaret was more than a union militant. In the days long before ‘Me too’ and indeed much of second wave feminism, she stood up for herself, refusing to allow anybody to condescend to her. She was also a good friend, there at moments of need..
Before her time at NW London, she had taught both In France and, indicating the seriousness of her political perspective, in Algeria; she was more than capable of seeing off any man who threatened her.
Like the rest of us, she retired, finally to a beautifully maintained house and garden in Aldeburgh, which she loved, Here she could indulge her love of opera,film and good food!
We shall miss you.
Merilyn Moos, Branch Chair