Liz Sayigh

Liz Sayigh

Born on the Gorbals Estate in Glasgow in 1953, but shortly afterwards moving to Greater Manchester, Liz loved primary school and having shown a precocious talent, got into Bury Convent Grammar School. She was very unhappy and left it and home aged 16.

She worked in a variety of jobs including a munitions factory in North Wales before returning home to her parents’ home and taking her O and A levels in 1975 and 1977 at Rochdale College. She went on to study nursing in Manchester, where she met her first husband Mihad Annan.

She gave up nursing and became a TEFL teacher, moving with Mihad to Beirut. Liz taught English in several schools in Beirut during the height of the tensions in that city and was at one point airlifted from the roof of the British Embassy with her daughter Serine in a military helicopter.

A period living and working as a teacher in Cyprus followed but the tensions of the war in Lebanon eventually ended the marriage to Mihad – Liz met her second husband Yezid Sayigh in Beirut and together they moved to St. Margaret’s Road and later Southmoor Road in Oxford, accompanied by Liz’s much adored VW Beetle from Cyprus.

Liz initially worked at The Lake School and studied for a Masters at Reading University and then later worked at Oxford Brookes. Here she taught graduate English second language students and developed and managed the CELTA and DELTA courses taught at Brookes.

It was on one of these CELTA courses that she met Phil in December 1999. Phil and Liz then worked together on the MA in ELT that she was developing. Liz was then offered a job working in academic development at Rhodes University, South Africa, which she accepted in 2000 and Liz and Phil then moved there in 2001.

Liz and Phil

Liz developed courses for senior academics across South Africa in assessment and curriculum development – from this work, she started a PhD using LCT to describe the knowledge shift occurring in South African universities at the time.

Both Phil and Liz left academia in 2007 and bought a run-down guesthouse, Parker Cottage, in Cape Town which they turned into a successful business before selling in 2017 and returning to Southmoor Road.

Sadly Liz received a cancer diagnosis late in 2019 and passed away peacefully in her sleep earlier this year.

Liz had a particular passion for her Dutch warmblood horse Pelé, her numerous dogs (most particularly Angus) and dance: proficient in several dances, her favourite was probably flamenco but she most enjoyed dancing Lindy Hop with Phil. Liz had a vast and eclectic music collection and was never without music.

Liz is survived by her husband, Phil, son Yusif and daughter Serine as well as her parents Nan and Frank.