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Brief Encounter: Margaret Birch

First Published in CommUnicate Issue: 319

Margaret Birch is the Administrator in the Institute for Employment Research. Margaret began her career at Warwick in 1965 as departmental secretary in French Studies and Philosophy. She is to retire shortly from her administrative post but hopes to continue part-time work at the University for the foreseeable future.

Favourite phrase
Hello Grandma!

Least favourite phrase 
No particular phrase, but poor grammar in written English from those who should know better makes me cross.

Life before Warwick
Career-wise, there was very little. After grammar school I did a post-A level, foreign language-focussed secretarial diploma at what later became Aston University. I came to Warwick within a year of completing that.

Smartest career move
Pulling out of chartered accountancy training after three weeks.

Major achievement to date?
From a career point of view, getting a good degree as a mature student.

Best thing about working at Warwick 
The people I work with, and the opportunities there are to do all kinds of life-enriching things right here on the campus.

People are always surprised to learn this about me, but...
I love watching rugby and can be an embarrassingly noisy spectator.

Lifelong ambition 
I have Welsh blood, and I have always intended to learn the Welsh national anthem so that I could sing it with gusto at a Welsh rugby match.

Which person inspires you most, and why?
No one person – but an old family friend springs to mind: although elderly and not in great health, she had a wonderful sense of fun and the precious gift of relishing the little, incidental pleasures of life.

As a young child what did you want to be as a "grown-up"?
A school teacher – I come from a family of teachers.

Magazines read
Who has time for magazines? (except for a sneaky look at Hello at the hairdressers)

Your all-time favourite record or piece of music? 
Richard Strauss – Four Last Songs (if I have to choose). I love Queen, too.

Your favourite hobby or pastime?
Fell-walking; keep-fit (I’m a regular in Sports Centre classes); University Chorus member; opera; good food and wine. Couldn’t choose between these.

Margaret Birch