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NFER Vice President David Whitbread dies after long and distinguished career in education


NFER news release (29/01/18)

We were very sad to hear the news last week of the sudden passing of NFER Vice President David Whitbread.

A well-known and highly respected figure in education, David maintained his interest and enthusiasm for the sector following his retirement in 1998. David was a strong supporter of NFER for many years whilst working for the Local Government Associations, and served as Treasurer and Vice Chair on our Board.  He was appointed Vice President of NFER in 2012. He always gave his time generously, and we are extremely grateful for his sage advice and tireless support.

NFER has received a number of tributes to David, who had a long and distinguished career in the education sector. Former Chair of Trustees at NFER, Richard Bunker, said: “David was a person of huge integrity who made an enormous contribution to NFER and to the whole education service. At the Association of County Councils and then, as Head of Education at the Local Government Association, he was always enormously helpful to Chief Education Officers in Local Education Authorities. Nothing was too much trouble and he always gave calm, well considered and invariably helpful advice. He was a delight to work with.”

Commenting on the news, NFER Chief Executive Carole Willis said: “David played a central role on the NFER Board for a number of years. He was an insightful and modest man, with a great deal of very valuable experience from which we all benefited. I know he will be greatly missed by his family and friends.”

Lorna Cocking, current Chair of Trustees at NFER, added: “We will remember David with immense gratitude and fondness. A sad loss.”

We are extremely grateful for all that he did for the organisation and send our deepest sympathies to his family and, in particular, his wife Margaret.

If you would like to share your memories of David with us, you can post them in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “NFER Vice President David Whitbread dies after long and distinguished career in education

  1. From David’s Family

    There have been many consistent themes that have come up in the flurry of letters and cards that have been kindly sent to us since David’s death. Amongst these themes the most consistent have been mentions of his humour, kindness and his generosity. This is how we, his family, remember him too, as a loving philanthropist with an infectious laugh, a keen sense of humour and a profound sense of justice.

    So we would ask you, if you wish to remember him by giving, that you do so by donating to one of his favourite charities rather than by sending flowers. Besides, David suffered from hay fever – he wouldn’t thank you for the flowers.

    The following four charities are some of the many that David supported during his life. If you wish, please send your donation to one or more of them either directly or via the love2donate website

    • Excellent Development. This charity works with communities in desert and semi-desert areas to build sand dams – a technique developed by the Romans in 400bc – providing clean, safe water for people and farming today.

    • The Woodland Trust. The surest way to safeguard England’s woodlands is to buy them, manage them and open them to the public, which is exactly what the Woodland Trust does.

    • Shelter. Help for the homeless and the poorly housed.

    • The Art Fund. Art doesn’t come cheap these days. The Art Fund helps museums and galleries buy works of art that would otherwise disappear into private collections, so that they can be kept for everyone to enjoy.

  2. Any man’s death diminishes us all, but the loss of a man so inherently decent is a loss indeed to society. Requiescat in pace.

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