3 June 2020

Farewell to Sue Giles from Alison Petch

The recent AGM was Sue's last as Chair and while we fully expect her to remain an active member of the MEG community we thought we would take this oppurtunity to reflect on Sue's career.  We are pleased that Alison Petch has shared her memories of Sue with us for the MEG blog. 

I first heard of Sue when I became a member of the MEG committee a very long time ago. I didn’t meet her then because she was no longer a committee member at that point but at almost every meeting I heard that ’Sue says …” and more particularly ’Sue has done …’: I thought of her as the Stakhanovite of MEG, beavering away doing essential things for the members whilst I lolled around on the committee, pontificating (plus ├ža change …). To be honest, from MEG’s point of view, I think that that has always been the honest view of her labour for us all: she has always been 'exceptionally hard-working and productive’ on our behalf, latterly as the Chair of MEG. The old-fashioned paper newsletter would probably have folded without her hard work and she also guarenteed the continuing success of JME by ensuring all members got their copies for many years (and without members’ receipt of the journal what would be the point of it, or MEG?)

On a personal note I have always found Sue to be a courteous, thoughtful and helpful person, with huge integrity in a work context and a personal one. I well remember going to the Aztec exhibition at the Royal Academy with her in 2002, whilst Sue was still thoughtfully considering the first gallery, I had shallowly rushed round the whole thing! 

 I often seem to bump into her accidentally on my infrequent trips to Bristol. I last saw her in person just after she had started her final job for Bristol Museum (I was on a short holiday near Bristol), she was popping out to recycle a lot of plastic shopping bags (a characteristicly green activity) and we had a catch-up over a cup of tea and a cake in the Bristol Museum cafe. The next day I fell downstairs and broke my shoulder, but I don’t think there was any connection between the two events! 

I like to think of Sue as someone who has become a friend, as well as a colleague and I hope to remain in contact with her during her hopefully long and no doubt characteristically fruitful retirement, and bump into her on my next trip to Bristol [as this was written during the virus crisis, I have no way of knowing when that will be!]

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