Last week was a time of goodbyes for us at the Record Office. You may have seen my previous blog about the retirement of Local Studies Librarian Sue Peach, but we also had to say farewell under much sadder circumstances to another friend and colleague, Sue Hulse.
After a brave fight, Sue died on 22nd March at Ashgate Hospice. Her death was a shock and huge loss to us all and last week colleagues both past and present joined her family to say goodbye at her funeral.
The title of this blog is a mantra for peace spoken during yoga, which Sue was passionate about. It opened her funeral service and the meaning behind it says a lot about Sue as a person:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may all thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all”.
Sue came to us in Local Studies nearly 20 years ago from Sheffield Libraries. We were so thrilled to have found someone so perfect for the job, with a local studies background and interest in the subject. She immediately brought us up to date with her computer skills, devising spreadsheets and databases where before there had only been reams of paper. When we wanted to offer one to one computer sessions to our customers, Sue was an obvious choice. She drew up comprehensive worksheets and with her knowledge and patience she loved helping people like this. In those early days of computers if any of us had a problem – a file wouldn’t open, the printer wouldn’t work, we couldn’t figure out how to attach a document to an email – there was always the common cry of “Sue!!!”
Working part time in Local Studies, Sue also worked in the Stock Unit and at Bakewell Library where she was equally valued.
When in 2013 the Local Studies Library amalgamated with the Record Office, Sue found herself also working in the Search Room which meant learning a whole new set of skills. But as ever Sue threw herself wholeheartedly into the challenge and valued the opportunity to further expand her knowledge, and have the chance to work closely with the archive collection.
We will all miss Sue – as a colleague she was precise, dependable, hard working and knowledgeable. But more importantly as a friend she was gentle, kind, considerate and caring. It says a lot about Sue that customers have been as equally upset at her passing as have her friends. Our thoughts go out to her family – to her husband Keith, her son Liam, her mum and her brother. It was a pleasure to know her.