Personal Memories

Many colleagues, friends and family have kindly posted their personal memories of Jan.

25 thoughts on “Personal Memories

  1. Jan Harding was an inspiration to many of us. She pioneered concern about school science and Gender and we have all built on her work. She was a wonderfully kind person who went out of her way to help others, particularly younger female colleagues. Her legacy will last for long to come. Thank you Jan. Professor Dot Griffiths, Imperial College London.

    1. Jan was an excellent Soroptimist and clear thinker on Programme Action matters. She always thought carefully about the impact of statistics on gender matters and vice versa. I am only sorry I am unable to attend her funeral as I shall be helping my own 89 year old mother following repair works to her house. I shall think of you all on 30 July as you say goodbye to Jan.

  2. Jan Harding made a wonderful contribution to science education which will never be forgotten. Her work with the WISE initiative played a central role in science education beginning to get to grips with issues of discrimination and the under-representation of women in science and science education. In addition, she was such a thoughtful person, whom I always so enjoyed talking with. She will be very much missed by me and by so many others.

  3. So sorry to hear of Jan’s passing. Condolences from her many friends in Australia. With kind regards, Kerrie

  4. My wife, Helen, and I were saddened to hear of Jan’s death. We both have happy memories of time spent together with this remarkable scholar. We were in England for a year in 1973, our first visit to that country. I was then a young academic, working in the Faculty of Education at Monash University in Melbourne, and I had just completed my PhD. My supervisor, Professor Peter Fensham, had suggested that the Chelsea Centre for Science Education would be a productive place for me to spend my first period of study leave, in those days an entire year was granted.

    Jan was one of the most memorable people that we met during that time. She possessed a wonderful combination of academic rigour and warm sociability. Our academic interests were not identical, but they did overlap. My PhD was about students’ attitudes to learning physics, and gender differences — especially the vast imbalance of males and females enrolled for that subject — and this disparity was a central concern for Jan in her work on gender and science.

    We met socially, and kept in touch through correspondence for many years. Years later, we met again when she visited Australia.

    Sadly, we had not been in regular contact in recent years.

    We offer our condolences to the family and express our gratitude for having had the opportunity to know this remarkable woman.

    (Dr) Paul Gardner AM
    (former) Reader in Education,
    Monash University (retired)

  5. I moved to Alresford 8 years ago and met Jan when she stopped me to pet my black Labrador. I will miss her friendly greeting as I pass her house . So sorry for your loss.

  6. I met Jan through the Soroptimists, we often met for afternoon tea and a good chat. I also often accompanied Jan to the classical concerts at The Anvil which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Jan’s knowledge of just about everything was a great source of learning for me! Jan was a true academic and had clearly enjoyed her career and travels. I found Jan welcoming, generous and caring. I will always remember her fondly.

  7. On behalf of All of Us from Africa – GASAT, we wish to acknowledge Jan and her husband’s contributions to our empowerment as Teachers and Scientists! Their contributions to the teaching of Science is unparalleled and for this we are thankful to have met and worked closely with her and her husband. Their home served as peaceful and happy refuge to everyone of us during our various visits to the UK. We pray that internal rest be granted to both Jan and her husband. We send our Love and condolences to her Son and daughter and her grandchildren! Thank you Andy for sharing the information. We are most grateful for your Love for us who knew and worked with your Mom.
    Stella Williams
    Vice President, Mundus maris asbl

  8. I knew Jan from the old ILEA days where I was a Science Inspector. She was one of the first few who really brought to the fore the key issues related to the under performance of girls in Science. I had, on many occasions, very useful and insightful discussions with her which helped formulate some key policy changes in relation to Girls and Science in ILEA. I have fond memories of those discussions. She was a regular guest speaker at the Science Centres of ILEA.

    She was soft spoken, kind and always a very pleasant person but underneath lied a sharp and bright thinker who always found a very agreeable way to communicate her thoughts and convert people to her way of thinking.

    Passing away is natural and comes to us all someday, but she left behind a legacy of major contribution to Science Education, particularly for Girls and Science. She will always be remembered for that.

    My sincere sympathies to the family.
    Best wishes.
    Kabir Shaikh

  9. Greetings from Toronto, Canada. Jan was such an incredibly inspirational woman and leader – I met her through the GASAT conferences in Mauritius and the UK. May she rest in peace.

  10. My memories of Jan were special as a Soroptimist, she always showed a concern for others and was thoughtful and inspirational in many ways.

    My thoughts are with you and the family in this difficult time – she will remain in our memories as a special person.

  11. I met Jan at a GASAT conference and invited her to Malta to talk to our student teachers about girls and science. I remember her visits fondly. She was an inspiration and a leader, soft-spoken yet determined she managed to engage all of us and motivated a number of our student-teachers to think about and do their small research projects about gender and science. She was also gentle and kind and good company too. May she rest in peace.

  12. I am one of the very fortunate people to have known Jan and the wonderful Arthur, and I am also lucky enough to have known Jan’s mother, generally known as Mimi, who lived with them in New Alresford. I first met Jan and Arthur when they came to Perth, Australia, in 1986. We all stood on our veranda one night and looked at Halley’s Comet through our telescope. Jan asked if she could read a bedtime story to our young daughters, which she did. I managed to visit Jan several times en route to some conference or other, such as the 1990 GASAT Conference in Jönköping, Sweden, often staying with Jan and Arthur, whose hospitality was amazing (our entire family were invited to stay over Boxing Day in 1987!) When our daughter Robin moved to England and I went there more often, I usually managed to visit New Alresford. I remember picnicking with my sister and Jan on hills overlooking Winchester, and especially one beautiful spring day when Robin and I visited Jan and we went for a picnic in the woods. We sat in a sunny spot surrounded by blue bells, and Storm had a wonderful time snuffling about under the trees. Jan taught me a great deal, not only about gender issues but about the local environment, I learnt the names of British trees, flowers and birds from her on long walks with Cleo or Storm. The last time I saw Jan it was clear she was becoming forgetful. Until this cruel disease conquered Jan’s spirit, she remained, despite her failing eyesight, a vivacious, thoughtful and generous host, and always an activist for the local people. No wonder so many people loved her. Jan was, in the words of my daughter Robin, an “amazing lady and very lovely”. I couldn’t agree more.

  13. As one of her Chemistry PGCE students, class of 1978-79 at Chelsea College, I owe an awful lot to Jan. She was one of the lecturers who interviewed me for admission to the course and observed my first attempts at delivering lessons on teaching practice.

    She encouraged me to apply to the Feltham School for my first teaching post _ where I learned so much and made life-long friends.

    Jan and Arthur generously entertained us callow students on more than one occassion at their home in northwest London. That PGCE year was great fun and we became a close-knit group. We all thought very highly of Jan.

    Jan and I kept in touch over the years and she always provided a warm welcome to my wife and children when we visited her in Alresford.

    Sadly, we won’t be able to come to the funeral as we’ll be overseas

    With deepest condolences

  14. Jan was a loving and caring Aunty to me whom I shall never forget.
    In addition, she was a woman ahead of her time on the issues of gender and social mobility – priorities of the current government of the day. What a long and accomplished life she led! xx

  15. I often think about Jan when I’m gardening because she came to see us soon after we moved here to Lincoln in 2005 and she gave me lots of information about the plants that were already here as well as getting ‘stuck in’.

    I think my overriding thoughts about her are how many things she knew so much about, gardening was important, but there were many so other important things. I met her through GASAT and then she managed to take me back (not literally) to my alma mater: SSW and to reintroduce me to a former and much respected maths teacher. And so on. And all that was late in her life so I new little about her impressive earlier career which I gradually got to hear about.

    And as everybody says she was so gentle, kind, cheerful and welcoming whenever you met her. You could never possibly forget her, I’m so sad she has gone.

  16. Jan was one of the most supportive mentors that a young woman could have. I met her first – briefly – in the 1970s then much more frequently in the 1980s and 1990s when I become involved in GASAT and other gender and STEM activities. Jan always encouraged young academics, researchers and teachers – both men and women. She would invite you to events, suggest tasks you could do and roles you could play in organisations. It was because of Jan that I became a member of the UK Fawcett Society : Jan put me forward as a judge for Fawcett positive active STEM awards for schools.
    As well as being such a significant mentor she was great fun. Much of the success of GASAT conferences came about because they were places where people could really enjoy themselves as well as develop global networks with like minded people. She had the ability to bring people together and make us all feel valued at the same time as she worked to make STEM education across the world better for women and girls.

  17. I have fond memories of many holidays to Kingsbury to visit my Auntie Jan, Uncle Arthur, cousins Fae and Andy. How they ever managed to host my mum (Jan’s sister), dad and us 5 girls I will never know. We must have been squeezed into every corner of their house.

    In about 1985 I struggled through a once a week chemistry O level evening class to gain a much needed 2nd science qualification to give me access to an ONC course in medical laboratory science. As the exam loomed nearer I realised that I understood very little chemistry and had no chance of passing the exam. My mum rang Jan and asked if she could help. I was soon whisked off to Jan’s house to stay for a week. During that week Jan transformed my understanding of chemistry, using ‘bucket chemistry’ at the sink and cooker. Jan made it fun. Several months later I rang Jan to thank her for her part in helping me gain the much needed chemistry qualification.

    In 1989 my mum became ill with terminal cancer. Her sister Jan came to visit and was a great comfort to my mum at this time and I remember mum telling me that she felt closer to Jan then, than at any other time in her life.

    Fond memories of my Auntie Jan

  18. Jan was so many things to me- teacher, mentor, colleague, friend and, with Arthur, a most generous host.

    I was introduced to Jan by a colleague who felt we had much in common. We were both chemists, teachers and by then both working on issues around girls and science. I learnt so much from Jan, who shared her experience freely and also gave me wonderful support when I faced challenging changes in my career.

    Jan had a very clear vision of what she wanted to achieve and a flair for producing bold and imaginative strategies. Like so many others world wide I benefitted greatly from her creation of GASAT. In the Fawcett Education Committee, which scrutinised Government policy documents, I saw the rational thinking and meticulous attention to detail which underlay all she did.

    We did not always see eye to eye but Jan had a very gentle way of disagreeing with you! Outside our work we shared many interested, not least Labradors. The much loved Cleo came from one of my litters.

  19. Dear Andy,
    Thank you for letting me know about the passing of your mother who I have very found memories of meeting when I was involved with the Winchester Soroptimists. Your mother was very supportive of the WoW bags women’s project in the Philippines which I help promote and I recall visiting her at home as she was keen on taking stock of some to sell at an event. I then also realised she had some difficulty with her eyesight and I showed her how to make the most of a good desk lamp which she so was so immensely thankful to be made aware of. Jan was marvellous and spirited, positive, encouraging and full of outgoing personality. I am glad I met Jan.

  20. I met Jan initially through the early GASAT conferences and became one of her team from the UK working on gender and science issues. She was an inspirational leader in this area and her work still has relevance today. I also have fond memories of visits to her bungalow in Alresford and enjoying the pride she took in her garden.

  21. All at the University of Winchester are saddened by the news of the death of our dear friend Jan.
    It was a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside such a wonderful lady.

  22. Jan was an inspiration for many science teachers as well as to those like me who worked to make science more welcoming for girls. She should have had greater recognition for her work. I worked at Sheffield Hallam University and we inherited a large part of the papers that she gave to the UKRC (when the UKRC lost funding). The large part of the papers are now within the SHU library (some notes about the collection via the link below), but I still have some papers including letters that the family may wish to have sight of/ have back. I would love to be able to share her work more widely – just as relevant now as then. I visited her in 2013 – she welcomed me and insisted I stay over – so I could collect some biography details. She was an amazing lady.

  23. Jan was a true inspiration. There are so many young women even in my community of Sudbury, Ontario that have gone on to great things, careers and rewarding lives, all through the influence and dedication of Jan. My wife and I visitred her when we could when we visited England and even spent a New Year with her many years ago…. What a wonderful person…..

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