Memories of our friend Mary Ann Hughes

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Mary Ann Hughes (BA Geography, 1967)

We’d like to share fond memories of legacy supporter, Mary Ann Hughes, who sadly passed away 27 January 2022. Mary was a valued Liverpool alumna, who studied Geography and graduated in 1967. We feel honoured that Mary chose to continue her story at Liverpool through a gift in her Will. Her kindness and passion for education will be her lasting legacy.

Mary has provided vital funding for the Student Fund, which exists to ensure that students of every background can come to Liverpool and make the most of their time here.  Extraordinary supporters like Mary have helped make wonderful things happen for our students by funding scholarships and bursaries for students who would otherwise miss out on a university education.

David Hughes and Margaret Brown both share what made Mary special in a heart-warming tribute to their beloved sister.

Mary had a spark and passion for theatre and serious cinema which was ignited during our childhood. As children, we were very fortunate to grow up in a home with plenty of books and music, and we were encouraged to go to the theatre and to become “Young Playgoers” at Leatherhead Rep Theatre Company. 

We remember that family holidays were always a great adventure for us children.  We had no car, so we went everywhere by public transport or on foot. Our parents were very knowledgeable on history, geology, natural history, and landscapes – so everything we visited was well worth seeing. We are sure that these holidays inspired Mary’s love of geography.

During the mid-sixties Mary went to Liverpool University to read Geography – it must have been quite the place to be! After her graduation Mary was persuaded by her tutors to undertake a PhD on ‘what came before Saxton‘s maps in the 16th Century’.  Mary dedicated three years researching in the Public Record Office, but when her grant came to an end, she was unable to complete her studies.

Mary took a job as an untrained teacher of Geography at a private school in Somerset, where she devoted nearly all her ‘free’ time to her pupils. Mary’s life took on a new meaning when she completed her training and qualified as a teacher. Her first post as a trained teacher was at Bishopshalt School in Uxbridge in 1972 and she remained there until her 60th birthday in 2005.   

Our sister always exuded calm common sense and a skill in choosing the right words. She was a born communicator who loved children and teaching. Mary was kind and generous with many students describing her as extraordinary. Such was her empathy with her pupils that, when her retirement was announced in assembly, a deputation of them begged her to stay.

After she retired, Mary’s love for education continued, and she would attend lectures and take tours with the Adult Continuing Education Department at Madingley College, Cambridge. This transformed her life for many years, and she forged many strong friendships among the students and staff, all of whom said they: “cherished the years they knew her for.”


“Mary was a wonderful sister, cousin, aunt, great aunt, and friend. Non-judgemental, always ready to listen and generous with her advice and support. She is greatly missed.” 
David Hughes

“Mary was my big sister.  For as long as I can remember she was there to look after me, support me, believe in me.” 
Margaret Brown

Are you inspired to give in memory of a loved one, or are you considering remembering the University of Liverpool in your Will?

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