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Kelvin Symonds, 1953–2008

Kelvin Symonds

Kelvin Symonds

30 June 2008

Kelvin Symonds, Head Attendant in the Arts and Social Sciences Library, died in May. Peter King, Director of Library Services, remembers 'a devoted and very proud family man... the sort of person who presents solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves'.

Kelvin Symonds died on Saturday 24 May 2008, at the relatively young age of 55. As Head Attendant in the Arts & Social Sciences Library, he had been in charge of the building on his last day. He took the keys back to Royal Fort Lodge, where he suffered a heart attack and lapsed into unconsciousness from which he did not recover. He died later that evening in the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Kelvin joined the Library in 1997 from a previous career in retail management. He took his new leadership role seriously and completed an introductory course in supervisory management. He enjoyed introducing new recruits to their work and establishing a friendly and effective rapport from the outset.

The attendants are a small but very important team. Apart from other duties, they have to staff the reception desk at the entrance to the Library throughout its long opening hours, including evenings and weekends. They are the first point of contact with the Library for all visitors. Kelvin’s supportive approach, combined with his own example, meant that the desk was never unattended. He was always smartly dressed and always ready to step in to cover a vacancy. He was good at learning new things, especially about new items of equipment, and passing the information on to his colleagues. Kelvin was the sort of person who presents solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves.

Outside work Kelvin loved football and rugby, and laughing at his own jokes, but he was also interested in finance and the stock market. He belonged to an investment club and was pleased when investments that he had recommended did well. He was a devoted and very proud family man, and his wife and two sons took pride of place in his life.

Kelvin had not been well for some time, but he did not complain about his health and rarely talked of it unless asked. His sudden passing therefore came as a huge shock to his friends and colleagues in the Library. We shall miss him.


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