LMS Obituary - Anne Bennett

 

Anne BennettThe staff at De Morgan House and Members of the LMS Council were devastated to hear the terrible news that Anne Bennett, Head of Society Business at the LMS, had suddenly died of a heart attack on 6 September 2012 at the age of 56. This is a terrible loss for all who knew her and had the good fortune to work with her. Anne lived for her family and her work. She enjoyed being at the Society and was extremely proud of what she was achieving during her time here, which has been so sadly cut off by her premature death.

Her most notable impact has been in the area of public affairs. Her role at the Society was two-fold. Firstly, she dealt with the governance and complex activities of the many committees of the LMS, in particular with the Council, and with the Finance and General Purposes, Research Policy, and Women in Mathematics committees. Her second role was to establish links with national policymakers and funders, both for the LMS and for the Council for Mathematical Sciences (CMS), as well as developing the public face of mathematics. Her natural ability at encouraging collaborative working, her energy and application to the task in hand, and her real interest in ensuring that mathematics is properly represented at the highest levels made her wonderfully suitable for the role.

Anne graduated from Kings College, London in 1979 with a BA(Hons) in French. She started work that same year with the London University Careers Advisory Service as an Administrative Assistant, supporting the annual Graduate Recruitment Programme. From there she moved to the Centre for British Teachers, working on the Morocco and Brunei desk. In 1986 Anne took up a post as Examinations Officer at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), where she was to work for the next 24 years in a variety of positions including: Divisional Affairs Officer, managing the Secretariat of the four Science Divisions and the European Chemist Registration Board; Manager (Development and Support), developing corporate governance following the introduction of a new organisational structure at the RSC; and latterly as Manager (Interest Groups) responsible for the management of the 85 RSC Special Interest Groups. This year Anne was nominated for an RSC Outstanding Achievement Award for services to the Society, which she was due to pick up in November. Anne joined the LMS in May 2010.

Anyone who met Anne will remember her as a very dignified, cultured, intelligent and compassionate woman, whose French heritage shone through in her bearing and outlook. She was a passionate follower of early and baroque classical music as well as opera and theatre. With her dual nationality she was also a great lover of international food and cuisine and an excellent cook herself.

Anne was completely loyal and dedicated to the Society and to the CMS, and she had a sense of vocation in the furtherance of mathematics. She brought to a new level the exposure of mathematics to national policymakers and officials at Westminster and Whitehall, and also to national funders of mathematics research and education. She set up opportunities for mathematicians to present their case, quietly and effectively networking with officials, politicians, government agencies and the most senior figures in the academic world, striving to ensure that the M (mathematics) in STEM was both recognised and included in all national discussions on science.

Anne was a unique person, warm and absolutely genuine. Expressions of sympathy and admiration have come in from the many agencies, bodies and individuals with which Anne fostered strong links over the last two years. These include:

‘her warm personality and radiant smile were always a great source of encouragement….. her contribution to the mathematics community was extraordinary’’
‘a fantastic colleague’
‘a wonderfully helpful person who kept information flowing’
‘she will be sadly missed by so many’
‘Anne was indeed a very supportive and helpful person’
‘she was so helpful and kind and could always find time’
‘Anne was charming, diligent, friendly and a stalwart for mathematics. Her loss will be felt most deeply.’
‘Anne was both a friend and a true professional. I will miss her and her wise advice…. she was highly regarded in the maths community.’

Anne was always thinking of others and was one of the kindest people you could hope to meet, and this combined with her sharp and perceptive intellect made her contribution to both the LMS and the CMS so valuable. Her particular personality and skill-set will be impossible to find again, and she will hold a special place in the memories of those lucky to have been her friend and colleague.

Anne is survived by her husband Philip Treloar, daughter Isabelle and son Nicholas. Our thoughts are with them at this sad time.

Fiona Nixon
Executive Secretary