Rita Austin obituary


My spouse, Rita Austin, who has died aged 82, was the primary Asian girl to face for the Labour celebration in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1983. Later, she based the Welsh Refugee Council.

Rita attended Loreto Home in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Loreto Convent in Darjeeling, earlier than arriving in England, in 1955, the place she continued her secondary schooling at Loreto school in St Albans. She then studied for a 12 months (1960-61) at Girl Margaret Corridor, Oxford. Throughout this time, Rita and I met, at Fircroft School, Birmingham, the place I used to be learning economics, politics and English. We have been married in 1962 and had two kids.

She went on to take a diploma in public and social administration at Swansea College (1963-65), a BA in economics, politics and sociology at Birmingham College (1966-68), and a PhD on the College of Wales, Cardiff (1972-76). Her doctorate promoted superior nursing schooling and developed the idea of nurse practitioners.

Rita taught in a wide range of establishments earlier than embarking on a profession in public service, together with roles as a registrar on the Council for Nationwide Educational Awards (1977-83), director of South Glamorgan Race Equality Council (1989-93), and assistant chief govt for equalities and the third sector at Bristol metropolis council (1993-95).

Within the mid-Sixties, Rita joined the Birmingham Northfield parliamentary constituency. For the 1983 common election, Labour chosen her to face for the celebration in St Albans. The household then returned to Cardiff and, in 1985, she turned South Glamorgan county council’s first Asian county councillor and was chair of its finance committee. Right now, Rita additionally was a part of the Labour celebration’s working group on Black sections alongside Paul Boateng, Diane Abbott and Bernie Grant. As a councillor, she was an energetic member of the native well being and police authorities and the Welsh joint schooling committee.

In 1992, she based and have become the primary chair of the Welsh Refugee Council. She was additionally chair of the South Wales Residents Recommendation bureaux.

Her forensic articulacy and powerful will was not at all times welcomed inside or exterior the Labour celebration and different organisations, however her pioneering efforts paved the way in which for others.

Her closing job, from 1995 to 1997, was as chief govt of CareerPaths – now Careers Wales – (Cardiff and Vale), which she arrange as a newly constituted organisation earlier than retiring. In retirement she remained in Cardiff, persevering with to advertise social justice in a wide range of public appointments, notably in well being, schooling and native authorities.

Born in Calcutta, Rita was the daugher of Nirmala (nee Ghosal), a instructor and translator, who died in 1969, and Niren De, who was legal professional common of India from 1968 to 1977. Rita grew up in an India nonetheless within the throes of ethnic and social discrimination, which instigated a lifetime spent resisting and preventing all types of social injustice.

She cared selflessly for household and associates, and was captivated with gardening, the place her capability for nurturing was demonstrated towards resistant soil.

Rita is survived by me, our youngsters, Paul and Sarah, and grandson, Tomos.


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