It is with profound shock that the Company has learned of the death of Court Assistant Brenda Dean. Brenda was taken ill on a business trip to Nottingham and died in hospital on 13 March 2018. On learning this the Master, Nick Steidl, said “This is such tragic news - a great loss to her family but to the Stationers’ Company too. Brenda had the wisdom of King Solomon and with it charm and humour”.
Brenda, the Rt Hon The Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, joined the Company on 20 April 2009, was cloathed on 1 December 2009 and was made a Court Assistant four years later on 3 December 2013. Her contribution to the work of the Court was, as Past Master Hempenstall has said “on the money”. She cut through to the meat of any argument and presented her views with clarity and acuity. Whichever side of the argument she was on all members of the Court valued her opinions and loved her company.
Brenda served on the Master and Wardens’ Committee from 2011 to 2012 and at the time of her death was a Trustee of the Stationers’ Hall Charity and Chairman of the Hall Fundraising Committee.
Much will be written about Brenda’s work as General Secretary of SOGAT and latterly in the House of Lords where, as ever, she championed the communications and content industries but it is as a member of the Stationers’ Company that we mourn her loss and our thoughts are with her husband Keith McDowall CBE and with Diane Russell, who had been Brenda’s PA for over 40 years.