5 July 2012
Nesta Babb, former Executive Assistant in Finance Services, has died. William Liew introduces this tribute from her family.
Nesta Babb was Executive Assistant to former Finance Director, Ian Crawford, myself and anyone else who asked for help. She kept us shipshape over the years and got us to meetings on time. She was an enthusiastic member of the Finance Office’s skittles team, the Crawford Crackers. After 23 years at the University, she took early retirement in 2008. Her family have penned the following loving tribute to her.
Nesta was born on Friday, 10 September 1948 and was the eldest of eight children. As the rhyme goes, ‘Friday’s child is loving and giving’ – this describes Nesta to a ‘T’.
She attended Bristol Commercial School where she trained to be a ‘proper secretary’ and a ‘lady “wot” lunched’ with friends, colleagues from work and girlfriends she had kept in touch with from her school days. For many years, Nesta played skittles and more recently she joined a Walking for the Health group which she thoroughly enjoyed and through which she made many new friends.
During her teens Nesta would spend time with her younger sister Brenda listening to Radio Luxemburg and singing along to the songs of the sixties together. Her love of radio continued and she had regular diary appointments with Radio 4’s Just a Minute and The Archers. More recently she was an avid armchair contestant of ITV’s The Chaser. Bet she would give them a run for their money too. She was always the competitive type; Brenda never did manage to beat her at a game of draughts!
Nesta met her life partner Allan in 1988. They spent many happy years together and loved to bop to sixties music. She particularly loved The Troggs, Gene Pitney and The Beach Boys, to name but a few. She attended many Gene Pitney concerts, and was very sad when he passed away.
Nesta loved family events and was always interested to hear of what her nieces and nephews were doing and of their achievements and relationships. She was a great encourager.
Nesta had a very kind and generous heart. She didn’t believe in lavishing people with expensive presents but the gifts she gave were always from the heart and always a real hit with the recipient, especially the children. We can all remember the little things she gave; Kevin remembers receiving a James Bond car when he was small, which gave him hours of joy. Most of all we will remember her love of life and her straight-speaking, no-nonsense, independent nature. She didn’t suffer fools lightly but she did have a wicked sense of humour and particularly liked The Goons and more recently Mrs Brown’s Boys, which would have her in stitches.
Nesta was sensitive to matters of injustice and would often pen a spirited letter to her MP or community group. Her secretarial skills were used to the full. Her boss at the Finance Office at the University of Bristol would be organised well and would not be allowed to remove the diary from her desk. I’m sure many knew the wrath of Nesta. Her sisters certainly did – we were kept in line in love.
Each of the Babb sisters and brother can recall stories of Nesta and how she influenced and touched our lives. We can all agree that Nesta had a huge heart that was not self-seeking; she was a giver through and through.
Nesta was a unique woman who never had a career break other than a period of temping between working for Shell and the University of Bristol.
We all love you Nesta and will carry your memory in our hearts forever. God bless.
Brenda, Doreen, Angela, Kevin, Irene and Jackie (not forgetting all nieces and nephews)
University of Bristol,
Bristol, BS8 1TH, UK
Tel: +44 (0)117 928 9000