Rosemary Booth 1946–2008
22 September 2008
Dr Deborah Johnson remembers the former Director of the Student Counselling Service as 'witty, utterly honest' and with 'remarkable gifts of intuition, perception and compassion'.
Rosemary joined the University in 1979 and worked for the Bursar’s Office and the Information Office before moving to the Counselling Service ten years later. She worked for three years as a Counsellor and for the subsequent 17 years as Director. It was a post she was uniquely suited to. Rosemary cherished ‘her’ counsellors and ‘her’ Counselling Service, encouraging the Service to grow like a strong healthy tree, initially in a climate which was not especially friendly to the counselling profession. Her vision and dedication have shaped this Service from its small-scale origins in a culture of volunteer counselling to the vigorous and still unique professional organisation it is now. The Counselling Service and the University in general will continue to benefit incalculably from her dedication.
Rosemary was zany, witty, utterly honest and sometimes abrasive. She had a great capacity for joy; she also had a profound and poignant sense of how, in Philip Larkin’s words, our lives can be shaped by what ‘something hidden from us chose.’ It helped inform her work as a therapist, to which she brought remarkable gifts of intuition, perception and compassion. She will have touched many lives very deeply – those of friends and colleagues as well as of the many students whom she counselled.
Rosemary had many interests outside work, such as literature – especially poetry – and organic gardening. A celebration of Rosemary’s contribution to the many groups she supported is planned at Horfield Community Orchard (where she was a member) on 28 September at 4pm. There will be an informal get-together over a glass of cider or wine around the gazebo, which has been moved to the orchard from Rosemary’s garden, along with plants from her garden. All are welcome.
Our sympathies go out especially to her brother Frank, her young cousin Simon, and his partner Ursula.