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Obituary: Valerie Hilton

Colleagues will be very sorry to learn of the death of Valerie Hilton on 8 April 2003.

Following a period in banking and commerce, during which overseas postings led to her becoming proficient in French and Finnish, Valerie was appointed to a post of Library Assistant at Leeds in December 1961. Her exceptional ability and personal qualities made an immediate impression and within a year she was promoted to be Secretary to the Librarian. This was to be only the first of a series of promotions, reflecting her assumption of ever greater responsibilities and culminating in her appointment as Senior Administrative Officer in 1983.

Valerie Hilton was a central figure in the University Library for more than thirty years. In practice if not in title, she was the Librarys personnel manager, bringing great efficiency and sympathetic understanding to the many different and complex aspects of this role. These responsibilities she carried out in parallel with a whole host of other administrative and managerial functions, prompting one former Librarian to describe her as being rightly perceived both by Library and University staff as the lynch-pin in the Librarys management and operational structure. Valerie was centrally involved in all aspects of the Librarys policy and decision-making procedures. As the Library underwent progressive change and development, so her capacity to absorb the extra demands associated with this process increased. One of Valeries particular strengths was her ability to liaise skilfully and effectively with colleagues throughout the University over Library matters.

Valeries standing with her colleagues in the Library could hardly have been higher, and her help and advice on matters both professional and personal were sought constantly. She worked very closely with four University Librarians, who were united in their appreciation of, and gratitude for, the outstanding competence she brought to every aspect of her work, often carried out long after normal working hours, and her remarkable dedication to the Library and its traditions, ideals and values. Valerie retired from her post in July 1998, after nearly thirty-seven years service with the University.

The funeral is to be private, but all are welcome to the Service of Thanksgiving which is to be held at 3.00pm on Thursday 24 April 2003, at Wigton Moor United Reform Church, High Ash Drive, Alwoodley, Leeds 17. There will be a donation plate at the Service, for Weston-Super-Mare Hospice.

Published: 11 April 2003