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Daphne Turner, 1918-2012

Daphne Turner

Daphne Turner

15 May 2012

Daphne Turner, the University’s first Director of Physical Education, died recently. Bob Reeves offers an appreciation.

Daphne Turner was probably the first female University lecturer in Physical Education in England. She has passed away, at the age of 94, having spent recent years comfortably at St Monica's Retirement Village, off Durdham Down.

She came to Bristol in September 1948, having previously been a school PE teacher in Shropshire. She went on to dedicate the rest of her working life to Bristol University and its students, retiring in 1982, after 34 years service.

Daphne worked in tandem with Jack Williams for many years, each of them being to referred to as 'Lecturers Jointly in charge of Physical Education'. They complemented one another perfectly. It was not until Tony Holmyard arrived in 1963 (ultimately to manage the new swimming pool and to develop an outdoor education programme) that the department was permitted to grow. Daphne was instrumental in developing the PGCE course in PE and the Teaching of Games.

On Jack's retirement in 1975, Daphne became the first Bristol University Director of Physical Education, the first woman in the country to hold such a post. She was certainly one of the 'old school', but she loved her work and was widely respected by staff and students alike.

Daphne continued playing badminton at the University well into her 70s. Many colleagues and friends benefited from her generous hospitality at her lovely house in Goldney Avenue, where her garden was a source of great pride. Daphne retained a keen interest in the University in later years, but kept her distance. She maintained her love of bridge, at which she was keen rather than expert, and in opera.

She was a loyal and considerate colleague. I was proud to have worked with her for 10 years, and delighted to regard her as a friend for much longer.


Further information

The funeral for Daphne Turner will be held at Bristol South Crematorium on Thursday 17 May at 1.30pm, followed by a gathering at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Those planning to attend this gathering are asked to email
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