It is with deep sadness that we learnt from the Family of Dame Sandra Burslem DBE DL JP FRSA that she died on the 3rd of November 2023 at the age of 83. Sandra had been a trustee of the Rhodes Foundation since 2007.
Sandra graduated as a mature student from Manchester University, taking a first in Politics and Modern History. Her career was almost entirely in what was Manchester Polytechnic and then became Manchester Metropolitan University. Starting as a Lecturer in British Politics, she held various senior academic positions culminating in becoming the University's Vice-Chancellor from 1997- 2005. Sandra was a Magistrate on the Manchester Bench from 1971 until her retirement, serving on the Adult, Youth and Family Courts. From 2005 – 2011 she was appointed a Civil Service Commissioner, where her lead responsibilities were with the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Departments. Appointed as Chair of the Education Honours Committee in 2005, she was a member of the Main Honours Committee until 2011.
The Appreciation of Sandra which appeared on the website of the Manchester Metropolitan University described her as “… an inspirational leader who achieved so much throughout her career. She led our university not only with vision and wisdom but also with compassion, humility and integrity. Dame Sandra was widely regarded as one of the leading Vice-Chancellors of her generation, reflecting the enormous contribution that she made within our university, as well as locally and nationally….”
During her retirement, Sandra remained engaged in a range of public and charitable activities but stepped back from many of her public engagements in 2020, in part due to a diagnosis of dementia in May 2019. This included her role as Chair of the Rhodes Board, however, she continued to be an Honorary Life President of the Trust.
Despite Sandra’s incredibly impressive career, she always found time to chair the Board of Trustees and she brought all her experience, knowledge and intellectual clarity to the operation of the Rhodes Trust and she always delighted in the direct contact she had with our scholars. Sandra always acted with kindness and humility to all those around her and she will be sadly missed.
Cedric FullwoodSteve Collett Honorary Life President Chair of Trustess
The Hon Mrs Helen Sutcliffe Patron of the Rhodes Foundation Scholarship Trust Fund.
It was with sadness that we learned of the death of our founding Patron, Helen Sutcliffe, last month at the age of 93. She was the daughter of Lord Rhodes of Saddleworth who from the late nineteen sixties had been a great supporter of the Probation Service, initially in South East Lancashire and from 1974, of the Greater Manchester Service. Lord Rhodes had been the first and only President of the SELCARE Trust - another voluntary project which had developed innovative projects alongside the Probation Service such as Hostels, Day Centres, Employment Schemes and outdoor pursuits (especially the residential centre at Flagg in Derbyshire and the Lady Rhodes Narrowboat) which provided leisure and support services for offenders and their families. SELCARE also developed the first ever Prison Visitors Centre at HM Manchester (Strangeways) Prison.
The Lady Rhodes Narrowboat (launched by Helen’s mother) eventually transferred to the Safe Anchor Trust in West Yorkshire and catered for a wider group of disadvantaged individuals and their families. When Lord Rhodes died in 1987, Helen not only immediately agreed to the idea of a Scholarship Trust for probation officers in her father’s honour but took up the role as Patron with enthusiasm. In the early days she participated with the Chief Probation Officer in interviewing every applicant - symbolically those interviews took place at the Ann and Hervey Rhodes Day Centre in Oldham. Helen attended and presented the Certificates at the first Presentation Evening in 1991 and attended every subsequent event for over twenty years before in 2022 ill health intervened. Even when she was unable to attend, she always wanted copies of the Reports and her inquisitiveness for how the Rhodes Trust was developing never diminished.
The trustees and all those associated with Rhodes foundation Scholarship Trust extend our sympathy to Helen’s family and friends.
Cedric Fullwood CBE Honorary Life President May 2023