Funeral notices (updated)

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death of Mrs Elizabeth Sestini, a former Research Assistant in the School of Education and Sir Gordon Linacre, an honorary graduate of the University.

Mrs Elizabeth Sestini

Educated in Huddersfield, Elizabeth attended Liverpool University. She obtained a BA in Social Studies (1953) and was awarded an English Speaking Union Fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate study, spending a year at Smith College, Massachusetts (1956-7). Elizabeth then worked in various roles in Smith and the Midwest Community College, Chicago, as well as spending time as a caseworker in the Municipal Courts of Chicago working with immigrants.

She married Dr Julian Sestini, Lecturer in Earth Sciences at Leeds, in 1958. In 1961 the couple travelled to Brazil, where Elizabeth taught at the American School, and in 1962 to Florence, where she spent several years as a private tutor in English before moving to Detroit in 1965.

On their return to Leeds in 1968, Elizabeth became a teacher of English to immigrant children at Brudenell Primary School, and became very involved with the immigrant communities in Leeds, developing her interest in language acquisition and social factors having a bearing upon the language curriculum.

From 1970 she worked within the School of Education on various projects exploring these themes, first as a Research Assistant and later as a Project Officer, obtaining an MPhil in Maternal Values and modes of Communication in 1975. She later moved to Bretton Hall College, becoming a popular lecturer in early years education, until her retirement from University life in 1995.

Elizabeth was a creative and enthusiastic student and teacher, whose friendly disposition, patience and persistence were highly valued by those she supported in their studies, and were applied with great effect to her own. She will be remembered with great warmth by her former colleagues and students.

The funeral will be held at Lawnswood Crematorium, Leeds at 11am on Thursday 12 February followed by a Memorial meeting at Adel Quaker Meeting house at 1.30pm  Donations in memory of Elizabeth can be made to Sue Ryder - Wheatfields or Otley Action for Older People.

Sir Gordon Linacre, CBE, AFC, DFM, LLD

Sir Gordon Linacre was a long-standing friend of the University, an honorary graduate, and former member of the Court and the Council.

Born in Sheffield in 1921, it was Sir Gordon’s ambition from a very young age to become a journalist. He left school to work at the Sheffield Independent as a reporter at 17, then joined the RAF at the outbreak of World War Two and became a bomber pilot. He was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and the Air Force Cross (AFC), leaving the RAF in 1946 (as a squadron leader) to return to journalism.

He became editor of the Sheffield Star in 1958 and then executive director of Thomson Regional Newspapers in 1963. In April 1965 he arrived in Leeds as the newly appointed managing director of Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers, the owners of the Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post. In 1979 Sir Gordon was awarded the CBE for his contribution to journalism. In 1983, following a merger with United Newspapers, he became the chief executive, as well as chairman of the regional newspaper division. He was made Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1986 and became the first president of Yorkshire Post Newspapers in 1990.

During his long career with the Yorkshire Post group, Sir Gordon was also extremely active in the Newspaper Society and as a benefactor of the arts and education. He served, for example, as a director of English National Opera and chairman of Opera North and was from 1985 to 1992 a valued member of the University Council, and from 1985 to 2000 a member and staunch supporter of the University Court. In 1991 the University recognised his contribution to journalism and the support of the arts and education with the award of an Honorary Degree, LLD.

Sir Gordon was an energetic and highly self-disciplined man, who was generous with his time and his support, and who made an invaluable contribution to the life of the University over many years, lending his expertise, his wide experience and his very practical and sage advice. He was highly active, enjoying golf, fly fishing and hill walking in particular. He will be remembered with respect by all those who benefited from his association with the institution, and with great warmth for his wit and camaraderie.

Sir Gordon is survived by his two daughters, Anthea and Philippa.

*Page updated on 16/02/2015. The funeral service will take place at 12.00 noon on Friday 20 February at St Giles Church, Church Hill, Bramhope, LS16, on which day the flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast in Sir Gordon’s memory.

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