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Carol Morris obituary

·2 min read

My friend Carol Morris, who has died aged 79, had a lifelong interest in education and social justice. Despite an inauspicious start in life, she became an adult educator who published research on Caribbean Creole and worked for the British Council in north-west Pakistan helping to set up schools for girls and women.

Born in Cardiff, Carol was adopted in infancy by Mr and Mrs Redall, a couple in Skegness, Lincolnshire, where she grew up. She left Skegness grammar school at the age of 16 to work as a trainee cashier at a local Barclays Bank. In 1977, she was offered a post as a staff trainer with Barclays, and moved to London, working at a branch in Shoreditch and settling in the East End.

Her socialist beliefs drew her to activities at the charitable institution Toynbee Hall in Bethnal Green, and in August 1968 she was a member of a Toynbee drama group performing in Prague when the Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia. Carol woke one morning to find the streets full of Russian tanks, and the group negotiated their return to London with some difficulty.

In the early 1970s Carol married Michael Morris, and they had a son, Christopher, who died from the then little-understood cot death syndrome. They sought solace in Australia, but life there did not suit Carol and a few years later she returned to London, the marriage over.

Carol began working for the Tower Hamlets Institute of Adult Education, organising classes at the Bethnal Green Institute to improve the literacy of local students who used Caribbean Creole as well as English. As research, she visited St Lucia in 1980, returning three years later on a four-month working visit sponsored by Tower Hamlets. This led to the publication of the first research into St Lucian Creole, The Kwéyòl Language and Literacy Project (1994), which Carol authored jointly with her colleague Hubisi Nwenmely.

In the 90s Carol was funded by the British Council to travel to north-west Pakistan to facilitate the strategic planning of Khwendo Kor, an indigenous NGO working to improve access to education for girls and women. This has slowly but steadily increased, as local confidence and trust has developed, with girls now entering into further education.

Carol returned to the UK in 2010 because of her deteriorating health, but remained a keen supporter of the UK Friends of Khwendo Kor until her death. She was appointed MBE in 2002 for services to female and indigenous education.

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