In Memory of Jill Brazil

Jill Brazil, who worked for the University’s School of Education throughout the 1990s, has died at her home in Warwickshire.

Jill arrived at Oxford Polytechnic during 1989 to take on the role of leading the administrative support team for the School, which in those days was located on Wheatley campus. You know what it’s like when the builders have been in and sub-divided once spacious offices into cubby-holes; and so Jill presided over business in what could be likened to a galley kitchen where a deal of: "Sorry, could you just move so I can …" went on. The bijouness of her domain was surpassed only by the kitchen which had literally been created out of a cupboard and so had an unfair advantage. We gravitated toward Jill’s office just to say hello or, more frequently, with problems to solve. You would leave knowing what you needed to do, but it wasn’t until later you realised she’d let you solve the problem yourself: the mark of a truly effective manager of folk.

When in 1992 the Poly morphed into Oxford Brookes University Jill took it all in her stride and encouraged us to do the same. One way she did this was to preserve a sense of sameness whilst embracing change. We all had to move on and adopt a new regime, but it was a huge relief when you got to the top of the H block stairs and found there were still fresh flowers on the table and Jill’s door was still open; but maintaining standards wasn’t just a ploy, it was a way of life. When Jill turned 60 we threw a huge party for her in what was then known as the Board Room but is now the OCSLD training room. Next time you sit in there mugging up on recruitment and selection, picture us all partying hard, not least the caretakers who turned up in fancy dress, complete with wigs. Seems like a lifetime ago.

There was so much more to Jill than I can cover in this short tribute. Those who knew her will have their favourite anecdotes and I guess they are as sad as I am at her passing. She was a much respected member of the staff, but more than that she was a very dear friend. I shall miss her terribly. Wherever you are now, Jill, I hope you’re keeping everyone in line.

Rosemary Ostley

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