Stephen Cox obituary


My good friend Stephen Cox, who has died aged 77, was an unobtrusive, humorous, however very efficient operator behind the scenes in lots of establishments.

He was director-general of the Commonwealth Institute when it nonetheless occupied its distinctive constructing in Kensington, London; chief government of the Westminster Basis for Democracy, working to help rising democracies around the globe; and government secretary of the Royal Society, following within the footsteps of Samuel Pepys, Edmund Halley and Robert Hooke.

Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, to Norah (nee Henderson), a physiotherapist, and Harold Cox, an organization secretary, Stephen was educated at Queen Elizabeth grammar faculty, Blackburn, and Atlantic faculty, south Wales, based by Kurt Hahn, the place he was one of many first sixth-form college students. After some VSO work in Bolivia he studied geography at Birmingham College, the place he met his future spouse, Pauline Greenwood, later headteacher of the Tiffin women’ faculty in Kingston upon Thames. They have been married in 1970.

In the identical 12 months he joined the British Council and was posted to Warsaw, Accra and Washington DC. In 1984 he joined the Royal Society as assistant secretary to move their worldwide programmes. Then in 1991 he turned director-general of the Commonwealth Institute. This was a tough time: in 1993 the federal government withdrew funding, the occasions programme and the maintenance of the exceptional constructing suffered and, partly to assist the institute’s funds, Stephen agreed to be concurrently chief government of the Westminster Basis for Democracy for the final two of his years there.

In 1997 he returned to the Royal Society, the place he labored below 4 presidents (Sir Aaron Klug, Sir Robert (later Lord) Might, Lord Rees of Ludlow and Sir Paul Nurse) over a interval of 14 years. In 2010 he organised the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary convocation on the Royal Competition Corridor, attended by royalty and about 700 fellows of the society, and the related fundraising enchantment, which raised greater than £100m.

Alongside his full-time work, Stephen was concerned in a variety of organisations together with the British Science Affiliation, the Council for Helping Refugee Teachers and the Royal Geographical Society. He additionally chaired the council of Royal Holloway, College of London, and the governing physique of Atlantic faculty. He was by no means one to push himself ahead. However he was all the time loyal and held the ring for vital establishments at key moments.

Stephen’s passions included cricket, artwork, structure, journey and assembly individuals. He was an internationalist, a believer in equity, and a person with out prejudices.

He’s survived by Pauline, their daughter, Rachel, and son, David.


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