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Memorial Space for Dr Chris Wilkes.

Memorial Space for Dr Chris Wilkes.

Ruskin College, Oxford is deeply saddened by the sudden death of its much respected Principal Dr Chris Wilkes.

Dr Wilkes was Principal for two years, formerly General Secretary at Ruskin for 22 years.

He worked tirelessly in his leadership of the college, and was a man of great integrity and warmth; he will be greatly missed by everyone here at Ruskin as well as colleagues in the Trade Union and Labour movement, and other partners.

Ruskin extends its sympathy to his partner Jane and family.

Please feel free to add messages of condolence, memories or quotes that you wish to share about Chris.

Thank you. Ruskin College.

Comments

  • Paul Di Felice:

    24 Mar 2016 13:55:29

    Chris is deeply missed by all at the College. Personally, he was a great colleague, a person of humanity, humour and wisdom. We all miss him.

  • Helen Jeffries:

    24 Mar 2016 16:30:20

    I will miss Chris a great deal. He was always there to help, was so knowledgeable, and had a great sense of humour. No-one else could identify me just by the knock on the door. Rest in peace, Chris.

  • Brian Smith:

    25 Mar 2016 19:54:49

    There are no words to express the loss of Chris Wilkes.
    We all like to think we achieved something or left a legacy Chris did.
    Chris was more than a Principal he was a friend within the Ruskin family and it is fair to say that most people in high office will not be mourned the same.
    I am glad I met Chris.

  • 30 Mar 2016 15:21:11

    Chris was an amazingly approachable Principal with vision. He saw his role as so much more than being ‘the man at the top’ and he saw Ruskin in a much wider light too (working with the local community and supporting social enterprises). I was most impressed with how colleagues obviously respected him. As an outsider coming in he was always so warm, friendly and helpful. I am very sorry he has gone and so glad that I met him.

  • Sally Courtney:

    30 Mar 2016 15:29:15

    Chris was the most thoughtful and kind person and it was a great pleasure to work with him over the last eight years. Everyone mattered to Chris – he will be most sadly missed by us all at Ruskin

  • Anne Norville:

    30 Mar 2016 15:41:53

    Chris was a wonderful caring and supportive colleague- a well respected Principal who has always been so much a part of Ruskin. Deeply sad for all who knew and loved him

  • jo hill:

    30 Mar 2016 16:08:33

    always sad to read of the passing of anyone involved with Ruskin. Deepest condolences to his family. 1974/6

  • Peter Dwyer:

    30 Mar 2016 16:11:45

    Last Wednesday, laughing out loud and lifting his head to the sky, rolling his eyes in that familiar way. He is making me smile just now. He always had time for a good laugh. Not many trade unionists will say that about their boss.

  • Eva Barnes:

    30 Mar 2016 16:51:13

    Such sad news about Chris. All our thoughts go to Jane and his family. He was a man wholeheartedly committed to Ruskin.

  • Sam:

    30 Mar 2016 17:10:38

    As a disabled student at Ruskin, I have to say how much I will miss Chris. He was always friendly and always made me feel welcome to study at Ruskin and always said a cheery ‘hello Sam’ as he passed me, although he didn’t always have time to chat whenever he did I always felt listened to and understood which made my time at the college a more rewarding experience. I will miss him.

  • Dave Proctor:

    30 Mar 2016 17:18:21

    Chris was a warm and caring person who believed in the ethos of Ruskin. He always supported trade union education and always wanted to give everyone the chance to study at Ruskin.
    Will be greatly missed by trade unionists and everyone who worked with him or studied at Ruskin.
    RIP Chris

  • Terry Wilkes:

    30 Mar 2016 17:34:42

    A Beautifull person, Sweet, Kind and compassionate.
    A man adored, loved and respected by all his family.
    Sleep well Christopher xx

  • Roland Birchby:

    30 Mar 2016 18:56:57

    I was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Chris Wilkes.I was employed as Domestic Bursar at Ruskin for 16 years,and worked in close conjunction with Chris for some 13 years of that time.
    Throughout what proved to be an important transitional phase of the College’s life,Chris was always there to advise and guide;always affable and supportive, he will be greatly missed by his colleagues both past and present,and constitutes a great loss to the college;my sincere condolences to all his family and friends.
    Roland Birchby.

  • Sid McDowell:

    31 Mar 2016 02:26:37

    Rest in peace Chris.

  • Tami Warriner:

    31 Mar 2016 15:26:06

    Chris was the first person I met at Ruskin on my first day, I remember thinking ‘if this man is a representation of Ruskin I am in the right place!’. Little did I know over the years we would become firm friends even after I’d completed my studies. I will always remember Chris as having a smile for all, a wonderful sense of humour and a truly gentle soul. His passing is a great loss to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

  • Emily:

    01 Apr 2016 10:00:49

    I didn’t know you for long Chris but that doesn’t mean you didn’t have an impact on me. Thank you for your support of me and my role, and for showing me what Ruskin really means.

  • katherine hughes:

    01 Apr 2016 13:10:47

    I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Chris’ very untimely death. I was only talking with him a few days before. I worked with him for fifteen years when was a Ruskin tutor and he was always kind, thoughtful and supportive. His sense of humour was infectious and he loved the students. I have rarely met such a conscientious worker who put his all into Ruskin. He is a great loss for Ruskin and also his family to whom I would like to send heartfelt condolences.

  • Caroline Thompson:

    01 Apr 2016 13:51:34

    I am very shocked and saddened. I knew Chris throughout my 13 years at Ruskin, both as a member of the Senior Management Team, and also, for my last 2 years, as my Line Manager. He was always unfailingly kind and supportive to me. He will be very much missed.

  • Ian Manborde:

    02 Apr 2016 07:37:57

    Chris Wilkes maintained a fundamental commitment to providing working class women and men with the educational opportunity to make a lasting difference to their own lives, their families, and to wider society. Chris was be missed, but we shall certainly be working hard to maintain his legacy.

  • Ed Rooksby:

    02 Apr 2016 13:37:32

    Chris was a highly respected principal – deeply committed to the well-being and ethos of the college. More than this, though, Chris was very simply a good man. Nobody who met Chris could fail to be impressed by his dignity and kindness. He will be missed greatly by all those who had the good fortune to know him.

  • Alan Shepherd:

    02 Apr 2016 20:19:40

    I knew Chris for 25 years. In all that time my opinion of him never changed. He was a good, professional manager, a person who understood, and constantly promoted liberal adult education, and he believed in the potential of Ruskin College to change people for the better. Most of all he was just a very nice human being. I will miss him very much, on a personal and a professional level. My sincere condolences to Jane.

  • john retallack:

    03 Apr 2016 13:44:20

    Chris Wilkes
    I knew Chris only for a short time but he was a great supporter of the Writing for Performance course and of its students. We ran Performance Days in May 2014 and 2015. Chris and Jane attended every single reading and staging created by the students; in 2015, they did the full marathon from 1 to 5pm and then stayed for the Cabaret in the evening. He talked to the students about their work and was full of enthusiasm and insight for what they were doing. Some of the pieces contained some very tough material – just before the presentation started, I remember thinking to myself, ‘now I’ll find out what our Principal’s like!’ And I did – a man with an extremely open mind, sophisticated, worldly—and generous.
    His death is a tragic loss for Ruskin — we will miss him very much.
    This year, on Saturday, May 28th — Ruskin Community Day — we will take a few minutes to remember him fondly. His presence on that day will be greatly missed by the students and staff of Writing for Performance.

  • Cilla Ross:

    04 Apr 2016 07:02:09

    I am very sorry indeed to hear about Chris. I didn’t know him that well but what I did know, I liked very much. I know how much he was respected both within Ruskin and externally for his fairness and great commitment to education.

  • Lizzie Ledger:

    04 Apr 2016 08:31:22

    Chris was a wonderful combination of being unfailingly kind with a razor sharp wit. I will miss our jokes. I feel honoured to have known him.
    Rest in peace Chris.

  • David McEvoy:

    04 Apr 2016 12:53:52

    I was very sorry to hear about Chris’s death. I knew Chris from several years on the Ruskin Council. He embodied the Ruskin ethos of adult education, giving working people a second chance and the means to understand and change the world.

  • Des McDermott:

    04 Apr 2016 14:02:13

    Chris represented everything that was great about Ruskin College and like so many of us who have studied or taught at this fine institution, he was passionate about ordinary people gaining access to education for the sake of education. Chris was not only committed to the principles and values of our College, but he put those principles and values into practice in his everyday life. We have many fond memories of Chris’s generosity, humour, humanity and compassion in our everyday interactions with him and no matter who you were he always had time for you. Chris was only too aware that not everyone shares our views on the importance of education for all and so it is incumbent on us all to ensure that fine tradition continues well into the future.

  • Angela Uberoi:

    04 Apr 2016 15:01:10

    Chris always had a genuine kindness about him and a gentle demeanor. He had integrity and was fair to all, I will miss him very much.

  • Christine Simm:

    04 Apr 2016 19:57:22

    I am so very sad to learn that Chris has died . In my time as a Tutor at Ruskin he was a warm, fair, thoughtful friend and colleague. We are all the poorer for his passing and I send sympathy to his partner and family. Ruskin was very fortunate to have Chris for so many years, and it is tragic that he has been denied the possibility of steering the College towards safer waters, which was his dream.

  • Teresa Munby:

    05 Apr 2016 07:34:59

    Like many I have only positive memories of working with Chris over the last 20 years and am deeply saddened for the college, students and staff at his untimely death. Chris’s intellect, cool calm head, his hugely supportive and inclusive way of working and engaging with staff and students alike will be difficult to follow and yet, of course, the legacy he leaves is a universal desire to ensure that the college does indeed continue in his wake to grow and develop. His wonderfully sharp wit and use of humour to lift otherwise dire or dull situations in which we have at times been has been such an asset to the college getting through and his steering it through some of the its most difficult and challenging times of the last few years has been commendable. At a personal level I shall, like many others, miss his willingness always to find time to have a chat, enquire how things are and generally make himself open and available to discuss new ideas and initiatives. There will be many out in the wider further and higher education community with whom Chris engaged over many years who will also be mourning his loss but it is his loss to the college which is most poignant, equalled only by that felt by his life-long partner Jane and his wider family.

  • Wendy Dawson:

    05 Apr 2016 13:47:54

    I had the privilege of working with Chris back in 2003 and again when I joined Ruskin Governing Executive. Chris was always a man of integrity, honesty and showed respect to all. He will be sadly missed but his legacy will continue, Chris believed in Ruskin and his practice demonstrated this in every way.

  • Tanya Schottlander:

    06 Apr 2016 11:28:08

    It was an honour to have worked with Chris, and even though it was for a short period of time I learned a great deal from him. His welcoming manner and thoughtful guidance is something for which I will always be grateful. Chris was the embodiment of the vision and values of Ruskin College and his loss is felt very deeply by all who knew him.

  • Baljit Soroya:

    06 Apr 2016 12:23:35

    Very sad to hear about Chris, he had humility and was a kind human being. My thoughts go out to his family and partner.

  • Owen Jones:

    07 Apr 2016 08:42:07

    I’m so sorry to hear this – please pass on my thoughts and condolences for this really sad loss.

  • Teresa Munby:

    07 Apr 2016 11:13:12

    Like many I have only positive memories of working with Chris over the last 20 years and am deeply saddened for the college, students and staff at his untimely death. Chris’s intellect, cool calm head, his hugely supportive and inclusive way of working and engaging with staff and students alike will be difficult to follow and yet, of course, the legacy he leaves is a universal desire to ensure that the college does indeed continue in his wake to grow and develop. His wonderfully sharp wit and use of humour to lift otherwise dire or dull situations in which we have at times been has been such an asset to the college getting through and his steering it through some of the its most difficult and challenging times of the last few years has been commendable. At a personal level I shall, like many others, miss his willingness always to find time to have a chat, enquire how things are and generally make himself open and available to discuss new ideas and initiatives. There will be many out in the wider further and higher education community with whom Chris engaged over many years who will also be mourning his loss but it is his loss to the college which is most poignant, equalled only by that felt by his life-long partner Jane and his wider family.

  • Debbie Coles:

    07 Apr 2016 13:11:32

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news about Chris. I worked at Ruskin 1999 to 2002. He was as people have said a really lovely man. My condolences to his family and friends X

  • Ann Schofield:

    08 Apr 2016 08:43:07

    I was very sad to learn about Chris. He was a great colleague with a total commitment to Ruskin and to the students and staff. He was also a really kind decent person with a great sense of humour. My thoughts go out to Jane and his family at this very difficult time. .

  • Penny Halliday:

    08 Apr 2016 11:01:07

    Chris had a really twinkly smile that could make you feel better about the world. I saw that on many occasions and was very proud that he handed me my certificate to celebrate passing my Masters Degree in Women’s Studies, from Ruskin. The smile and his sense of pride in me were very evident.
    Thank you Chris.

  • Pearl Ryall:

    08 Apr 2016 13:27:01

    I, like everyone else, have such positive memories of Chris. He was such a generous spirit, always calm, clear thinking and non-judgemental. He will be sadly missed but leaves a legacy to be proud of at Ruskin.

  • Pete Martin:

    08 Apr 2016 13:32:07

    Chris was a great champion of Trade Union Education and very supportive of the work that we are doing at the TUED Centre – it was an honour working with him and I will miss his dry humour immensely.

  • Wendy Robertson:

    10 Apr 2016 19:21:47

    It is difficult to imagine Ruskin without Chris, who has been my colleague for eighteen wonderful years, some of this time as my direct line manager. As a human being, Chris was self-effacing, humble, funny and kind-hearted. As my manager, he always listened well and acted with care. He demonstrated tremendous respect and an uncanny understanding of what I strived to accomplish, supporting me as necessary with a light touch. He earned my respect from the start and I will miss him very much. I send my condolences to his family. Our Ruskin family is the poorer for his death.

  • Cathy Lloyd:

    11 Apr 2016 06:34:31

    For the 18 years that I have worked at Ruskin, Chris has been there. For most of this time he was the General Secretary, providing knowledge and expertise to a number of Principles. He was always calm and consistent. He was a safe pair of hands. He cared about Ruskin and he cared about individuals in Ruskin. He was kind to everyone, he knew everyone and treated everyone the same. His loss leaves a huge void. He will be greatly missed.

  • Richard Bryant:

    11 Apr 2016 11:00:12

    A very sad loss. I worked with Chris for many years and always found him very supportive and committed to the core values of the College. He will be greatly missed.

  • ILTUS 2034 Group:

    11 Apr 2016 13:27:35

    The ILTUS 2034 group would like to express their condolences on the recent loss of Chris Wilkes. He was a truly respected person and his approachable and friendly nature was very much appreciated by all who came into contact. Through his hard work for Ruskin College, he has had a positive affect on many Trade Union Representatives and thereby the further Trade Union movement. He will be a great loss to many.

  • 11 Apr 2016 19:53:51

    I’m heartbroken at this news. Chris was one of the kindest, most conscientious, warmest and most passionate believers in what Ruskin stood for. He was a great servant to the college whilst always someone I enjoyed working with when I was President of the srudents’ union. He will be sorely missed.

  • 12 Apr 2016 10:23:09

    We’ll miss you ‘til we join you Chris.

  • Marva Small:

    13 Apr 2016 08:18:58

    Chris was a wonderful human being.

  • Richard Sidley:

    13 Apr 2016 08:48:52

    I only met Chris relatively recently over organising a conference celebrating the 40th anniversary of Jim Callaghan’s Ruskin College speech. He was most welcoming and positive about the joint venture. He struck me as a thoroughly decent person and will be sorely missed!

  • 13 Apr 2016 10:46:23

    Such a sad time, please pass on my condolences at this tragic loss.

  • Natalie Print:

    14 Apr 2016 09:20:48

    Such a sad loss for Ruskin and for all those who had the joy of knowing Chris. It was a pleasure to work with him; he showed kindness, understanding and a willingness to help. Chris will be greatly missed.

  • Satnam Gill:

    14 Apr 2016 13:18:32

    Very sad to hear of this. For many years Chris was a friend and confidant . He was always generous with his advice. He will be much missed by all in adult education and the SDI’s in particular.

  • Carol Newbury:

    15 Apr 2016 11:52:30

    Chris was a warm caring person who believed in the ethos of Ruskin. He cared about staff and was passionate about student welfare and their needs. Always calm in a crisis. He will be missed immensely. My thoughts go out to Jane and his family.

  • Maggie Dunn:

    18 Apr 2016 13:35:12

    Big smile, big personality, big heart, big ideas,big man. Chris will be missed so much by his family especially Jane. But he will be missed so much by all of us who grew to like and respect him. Chris’s legacy during his untiring work and support for the College will live on for many years. Goodbye comrade. M x

  • Ransackers Association:

    18 Apr 2016 21:29:23

    We are all at Ransackers deeply saddened to learn of Chris’ death. His support and encouragement for the Ransackers Project at Ruskin was inspiring and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

  • 19 Apr 2016 10:04:36

    I’ve worked with Chris for the best part of the last 13 years. He was always friendly, approachable, and made us all feel important. He’ll be leaving a big hole in my work family.

  • Fenella Porter:

    19 Apr 2016 15:26:22

    I write this on the day of Chris’ funeral, and my thoughts are with everyone there. In everything I have done at Ruskin, I have felt valued and respected by Chris, and that has meant a huge amount to me. His intellect and political understanding was always matched by his great kindness and humour. May his legacy live on in the college and our work here.

  • Laura:

    20 Apr 2016 09:15:07

    From the moment I met Chris at interview he immediately put me at ease; his warmth and hospitality and overall unwavering nature with such compassion for the college. He earned my respect from the outset. Thank you for believing in me Chris.

  • Caroline Holmes:

    21 Apr 2016 14:52:34

    Losing Chris in such an untimely way is a tragedy for Jane, his family and for our Ruskin family. His sense of fairness and justice was at the heart of everything he did and stood for. He gave so much of himself to the students and staff at Ruskin that will never be forgotten. A genuinely warm, kind and sincere person. Irreplaceable. We will also miss you deeply Chris.

  • Michael Liggins:

    25 Apr 2016 08:44:59

    Like many other students, Ruskin has been the most significant influence on my life and career. Chris worked tirelessly for the future of Ruskin and we should be very thankful for the contribution he made and committed to the future of the college.

  • Alan Irwin:

    27 Apr 2016 20:30:48

    I knew Chris for the whole time he was was at Ruskin . He was a man who believed in what Ruskin stands for. A man of integrity and humanity. I sincerely hope his legacy lives on in our great college. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and my former colleagues who must feel such a great loss .

  • richard morgan:

    17 May 2016 10:12:50

    As the Student’s Union President and student 99/01 I had the great privilege of knowing and working with Chris. He was always happy to make space for me to discuss sometimes sensitive matters regarding students. His care, compassion and dedication was evident in every decision he made few will match the great effect he had on Ruskin’s status.

  • Tracy Walsh:

    25 May 2016 15:48:11

    Chris was a friend of the college and of the labour movement. He worked tirelessly, often behind the scenes, to secure a future for Working Class Education. Chris was so kind to me and my family over the 16 years I knew him as a student and now a member of staff. His sudden death has left a great hole in many lives, but we will continue his legacy at Ruskin College.

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