Death of Dame Kathleeen Ollerenshaw

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    Denis Buczynski

    Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw 1912-2014
    Sadly, I report the death of Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw in Manchester at the age of 101. She was a BAA member having joined the Association in 1990and was very active within the Manchester Astronomical Society. She was a remarkable woman who became interested in astronomy in her 60’s after the death of her husband. She travelled on Total Solar Eclipse trips around the world and was a great friend of Patrick Moore. She established a small observatory at her small Lake District cottage near Coniston. Her public life was very full and her list of honours and achievements were long and impressive. She was awarded D.B.E. in 1971 for her services to education and was elected Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1975. In 1984 she was made a Honorary Freeman of the City of Manchester (Sir Bernard Lovell was the only other living Freeman). In 1979 she became the first female president of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. She served as Pro Chancellor of The University of Lancaster between 1986 and 1992 where 12 years ago an observatory was built and named after her. She played a central role in the creation of the Northern College of Music of which she was the Chairman of the governing body for over 18 years (1973-86). She was the first chairman (1967-71) of Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University) and for 3 years (1983-86) she was the Vice President of the Manchester University of Science and Technology (now merged with the Victoria University of Manchester).From 1973- 1987 she was chairman of the Greater Manchester County St John Ambulance. All of these achievements, and many, many more, were made despite her suffering almost total deafness and relying mainly on lip reading. She was a remarkable woman who lived a very full life and consequently the BAA has lost one of its most accomplished and colourful characters. A short obituary has appeared today in the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS at this link:

    An autobiography was published in 2004 by Manchester University Press entitled “To talk of many things” with a forward by Sir Patrick Moore

    David Scanlan, FRAS

    A great loss but happy to see Kathleen led a long and very fulfilled life

    RIP Dame Ollerenshaw

    Nick James

    I met Dame K several times and she was a great character with an amazingly varied set of interests and many fascinating stories. She really hit it off with Patrick and they were very similar characters. Listening to a conversation between the two of them was great fun.

    I visited her Coniston observatory but it was chucking it down at the time so it was rather hard to judge the potential sky conditions…



    I met Kathleen once, at a Society for the History of Astronomy event in Chethams Library, Manchester. She interested herself to me and apologised for not beign able to hear anything I said! She was delighted to hear that I had read and enjoyed a paper by her on the structure of magic squares in the bulletin of the IMA (Institute for Maths and Its Applications).

    The previous night I had lectured to Liverpool AS and been completely upstaged by another nonagerian, Eric Strach. The world is a poorer place for the passing of these two characters.


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