UCLan shorthand teacher Beryl Caunce who launched hundreds of media careers at college in Preston dies aged 96

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A lecturer who taught hundreds of journalists the art of shorthand in Lancashire has died aged 96.

Beryl Caunce helped launch a generation of reporters towards successful careers in local, national and international media.

The former personal assistant, who at one time worked closely with the Queen's dress designer Hardy Amies, brought her secretarial skills to Preston in the late 1960s, teaching shorthand to trainee journalists at the Harris College.

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She continued through its time as a Polytechnic and eventually UCLan.

Beryl still kept in touch with many of her journalistic students.Beryl still kept in touch with many of her journalistic students.
Beryl still kept in touch with many of her journalistic students.

Son David said: "Mum loved her job and loved her students. From what I've heard they loved her too.

"One well-known BBC reporter once said he owed everything to Mum.

"She told me one student in particular used to drive her up the wall, but she said he had 'a hell of a nose for news.' He is now editor of a national tabloid.

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"She could remember the names of most of her students and lots stayed in touch.

"I remember her telling me she was skipping along Moor Lane in the sunshine one day heading to work and she said to herself 'I'm the happiest woman in the world."

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Beryl was born in Stockport and was grammar school educated. She trained to be a shorthand typist before joining the WRENS during wartime.

She worked at The Admiralty for the Fleet Air Arm. It was there she met her husband Ian who was in the Merchant Navy and went on to become a Master Mariner.

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The couple had three sons - Neil, David and Clive - and Beryl even found time to go to night school to become a member of the Faculty of Teachers in Commerce and then studied for a general teaching qualification.

After her many years at college she worked for United Newspapers - owners of the Lancashire Evening Post - at their in-house journalist training school in Preston.

"Mum's life is one which should be celebrated, not mourned," said son David. "So I am feeling pretty reflective,

"She was the best-read person I ever met. She loved Shelley, Keats and Dickens. She was a prolific reader.

"I know there will be a lot of people out there, especially in the media, who will remember her with affection."

In retirement Beryl lived in Lytham and was a keen worker for charity.