Remembering Catherine Elizabeth Barley: Civic Design alumna’s passion for teaching and supporting students

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Catherine Elizabeth Barley
Alumna - Catherine Elizabeth Barley

Valued alumna and 1881 community member, Catherine Barley, sadly passed away in February 2020 having lived a full and varied life. Her sense of adventure, fondness of heritage, geography, wildlife and ‘Snoopy’ cartoons are recollected by her closest friends Anne Nicholls and Caroline Hogan. Anne and Caroline also share how Catherine’s belief in making good lifetime memories inspired her to remember the University in her Will.

Catherine wanted to leave something in her Will to enable others to enjoy things which she herself benefitted from. The University of Liverpool had been a special place in her life’s story. Catherine’s motto in life was to ‘make memories’ - we hope that her legacy gift will enable others to do the same.

After attending Rochester Grammar School, Catherine went on to gain a place at the University of Hull to study geography, and attained a Bachelor of Arts (Special Honours).  After her graduation in 1974, she worked briefly in the County Planning Department of Kent County Council, before returning to education. This time heading ‘up North’, to the University of Liverpool where Catherine began her Masters in Civic Design.

After her time at Liverpool, Catherine was employed by Marks and Spencer for a decade, as a manager and in-house trainer where she shared her expertise across many stores and took part in the Retail Youth Training Project, which was based in Birmingham. In 1987 she left Marks and Spencer with the intention of taking a year off to pursue personal interests.  It was during this time her life took a new direction and meaning and she volunteered to help in adult literacy classes and enrolled on local history and art courses. 

Catherine’s passion for learning and teaching took her back to Liverpool, where she completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.  Catherine then returned back to Hull in 1989 and was employed by Hull Grammar School (later re-named Tranby School, following a merger with Hull Collegiate School in 2005) until she retired in 2015. 

Friends Anne and Caroline said: “Miss Barley truly found her vocation, she put her heart and soul into her teaching. She had patience beyond measure, empathy and compassion and was genuinely interested in the well-being, the hobbies and interests and the potential of every child fortunate enough to have been taught by her; she will always be remembered by them, and her colleagues, with respect and great affection.”

Catherine’s gift will make a massive difference to vulnerable students at the University who suffer inequalities through lack of access to personal IT equipment, as well as making a difference to children who take part in the IntoUniversity partnership project, which is about to reach it’s fifth birthday this month.


Are you inspired to remember the University in your Will or to give a gift in memory of a loved one?

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