Saturday, June 16, 2012

Closing this site

Closed by Jasoon, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Jasoon 

I will leave this site up for the sake of archive, but there'll be no more posts here.  For people interested in Kath's book, there are some new places to look:

Facebook page:
Tumblr blog:
Twitter: KathFrysBook

Send an email to kathfrybook at gmail dot com with contact details to be added to the mailing list for updates.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Update

The update is that there is no update! 

I said I thought I would have news by the end of May and I haven't.  I am working my way through the book and I am a third of the way through.  I am finding it a difficult task. I don't see any point in putting myself under undue pressure for this.It is still that case that I cannot decide what to do in relation to the publishing until I have properly read it and made sure there is nothing that is problematic.  As I have already found a few things that I feel are problematic, that makes me feel more nervous about it and even more determined to do a thorough careful job. It will happen when it happens.  So if you want to be kept up-to-date, please let me know to be added to the mailing list of people that are interested in possibly having a copy.

[Updated 16 June 2012: If you want to be added to the mailing list - please send a message with your contact details to kathfrybook at]

If anyone is desperate to read the draft so far, I have two printed copies that I can lend out, but the conditions are that you give me feedback on errors and you return it promptly.  If you are happy to wait for a copy to read at your leisure, then that would be better.

Hope you have all been enjoying the sunshine.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One year on

Local elections tomorrow and I am sure that Kath's political colleagues and friends will be reminded that she died on election day last year (5th May).  How quickly a year goes by.

I thought that I would add a little message to say that I hope those of you who are thinking of her do so fondly and do not feel so sad.  Grief is a difficult thing to live with, but with time we all get used to it.

I have been asked what is happening with Kath's book.  I am hoping to have it available in both printed and ebook format very soon for people to buy.  I want it to be available at cost with an option to donate to Friends of Ghyll Head.  I just need to do some final amendments to the type-setting, which I am hoping I can do in May now that I am back in Manchester full time and not working for the moment.  If you are keen to get a copy look back on here at the end of May where I hope details of how to get it will appear, or ring me on her landline number, which is now mine.

The folder of photos of Kath are still in my flickr account if anyone wants to look through them as a reminder:

Hope the election goes the way you want it to.

All the best.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jo Wiggans, Director of Aimhigher Greater Manchester, given Special Award in Honour of Kath Fry

I was very thrilled to have been asked to present the Special Award in honour of Kath Fry at the Manchester Women's Awards 2011 last night (Friday 7 October). The award was for a group or individual that has made a significant contribution to education and/or gender equality. This is basically what I said, except I missed a bit out because I was stumbling.

I’ll call her Kath for the rest of what I’m going to say, because I’m not going to be talking about Kath Fry my mum, but Kath Fry a woman of outstanding achievement.

If she’d been here and someone had suggested that this award could be named after her, I’m sure she would have said something like, “Oh no… there are far more deserving women than me” and probably would have suggested a few. But I know that inside she would have been really pleased.

I think that kind of modesty is a characteristic that many of the women here today will share. This ceremony and awards are a great recognition, but the things they do are not for that reward. They are good women who are driven by a desire to help people and make the world a better place.

Kath was a very active campaigner in the women’s movement in the seventies and then in the Labour party at a local and national level.

She was Secretary of the Manchester City Labour Party from 1984 to 88 and a City Councillor from 1988 to 2004. In that period, she held key posts of chair of Personnel sub-committee, chair of Education Committee and deputy of Children’s services committee.

In her working life, she was a careers officer and then a maths teacher, first in secondary schools and then in adult education. She was passionate about young people and education, and to that effect one of the achievements that she was most proud of was her 20 year involvement in the Ghyll Head Outdoor Education Centre.

Ghyll Head is Manchester’s residential outdoor centre for young people in the Lake District. With the pressure on Council budgets over the last 20 years it’s often figured on lists for possible cutbacks or closure. The full cost of high quality residential outdoor education is beyond the budget of many families in Manchester and yet a hugely positive experience for the young people.

Kath first visited the Centre as Chair of the Education Committee in 1992, attending the Centre’s 25th anniversary celebrations. She gave a speech alongside Benny Rothman, a native of Manchester, famed for his role in the Kinder Scout mass trespass, and the battle for access to the countryside for the common man. During that day, Kath became aware of the impact that the Centre could have on young people from the City.

This turned out to be an important occasion for the future of the Centre, because a couple of years later when Ghyll Head was on the list for possible closure by the City Council, it was Kath who came to the aid of the supporters who wanted to voice their protests to the Education Committee.

When the decision was made to keep the Centre open, Kath chaired the newly formed management committee and inspired the Centre’s supporters to form the Friends of Ghyll Head. Despite all her other work, Kath volunteered to take on the role of Secretary to the Friends, something she only relinquished as her illness took hold last autumn.

And to illustrate this commitment, in February she hosted a meeting of the committee at our house, because she wasn’t up to the journey to somewhere else.

That was actually too much for her and afterwards not only was she very tired, but also sad once everyone had left. Not for herself, but that because of her illness, she felt she was letting everyone down, and was worried what would happen to the Centre without her input.

I am here today to award a prize to another outstanding woman. The winner of this year’s Special Award in honour of Kath Fry is Jo Wiggans, director of Aimhigher Greater Manchester.

The Aimhigher initiative was a national partnership project, the funding for which came to an end in July 2011, but some of the projects across the country are continuing without government funding or still winding down.

Aimhigher Greater Manchester, was a partnership of ten local authorities, more than a hundred and fifty high schools, 22 colleges, 7 higher education institutions, plus work-based learning providers, Connexions services and others.

The initiative had a budget of more than five million pounds per annum. This was for programmes of activities to encourage young people from underrepresented groups to progress to higher education.

The initiative in Greater Manchester was an unprecedented success. Just one of the successes of the programme was the number of young people from Manchester who applied to higher education increased by 91% between 2003 and 2009.

The rate of increase in Higher Education entry was also greater for those from the most deprived areas of the city.

Jo and her small team were based in the Open University in the North West Regional Centre in Sharston. Jo was formerly Assistant Director for the Open University in the North West where she worked for ten years. And previously had worked for Leeds Metropolitan University and other providers.

I am sure that Kath would have been very pleased, as am I, that this award in her honour has gone to such a worthy recipient from such a successful and worthwhile project.

Aimhigher Greater Manchester was an outstanding success in raising aspirations and supporting young women from the most deprived areas of Manchester to progress to higher education, enabling them to fulfil their potential.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dress code for the funeral

There isn't one! Wear what ever you feel comfortable wearing, black or bright colours, smart or casual (but I draw the line at naturism - it will be too cold!). Kath would not have cared and neither do we ;-) I only mention this as a few people have asked me.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Manchester Evening News notice

We placed a notice in the Manchester Evening News which appeared in Friday's paper. It is also available online at There is the option online to leave messages and photographs.