Barbara Hosking’s own words rang loud and clear at the IWF UK memorial held in her honour on the 5th May.
It was attended by 91 members, and included Barbara’s civil partner Margaret Hyde. Sensitively encouraged by Susan Young, former Chair and current Vice-Chair of IWF UK, 12 members and colleagues formally shared their stories about Barbara, and many others provided inspiring anecdotes at the end of the memorial. They all spoke with warmth and gratitude about the lasting legacy she had on them and on their careers.
It takes a rare person to touch so many lives. It seems Barbara said “Get a grip and get on with it!” to very many of us, and of course, one always did what Barbara told you to do. Even Edward Heath is known to have said: “I always did what Barbara asked me to do, and look where it got me!” Perhaps it was her firm belief in actions above words: “In leadership, it is not what you say, […] what is important is what you do, and [people] learn to trust and follow you on what you do.”
With this leadership, she revolutionised the perception of women in television, and broke the glass ceiling in every sector she worked in. She regularly opened doors for women, often without them realising who had opened that door. Barbara established a monthly luncheon for professional women, and lived her own words of “it’s not about you, it’s about all of us together” as she eventually led them to become the IWF UK founding members.
In the words of those who shared their memories:
Barbara added value to all our lives, her vibrancy lit up the room, she brought fizz to my life.
She wagged her finger at me and said, “stay at it, I will be in touch!” And she did… as a lodestar, smiling eyes twinkling and saying “you can do it”.
Her breadth of knowledge, humour and courage a lesson to us all. I ask myself before every decision, what would Barbara do?
An audio analysis on this event would highlight the word fun as being the most used in reference to Barbara. She had a contagious energy, a charm, a determination. She was a mentor, a friend, an inspiration. She fostered, nurtured, she opened doors. We should continue the job she started.
I’ll never forget her
Barbara Hosking CBE 4 Nov 1926 – 21 March 2021
Dr Sawsan Khuri