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Remembering Kees Maxey

It is with great sadness that the Council reports that Kees Maxey, our dedicated Secretary for the whole of the first decade of this century, died on 19 October at the age of 85. He had been in declining health for some time.  His well-attended funeral service took place on November 14 in Brentwood where Kees and Sheila lived.  CEC was represented at the occasion by Peter and Julia Williams.  The Council has made a donation in Kees’s memory to PENHA, the Pastoral and Environment Network in the Horn of Africa of which Kees was an active supporter right up to the time of his death.  (Friends and colleagues who wish to make a donation to PENHA in Kees’s memory may like to use this link:

Kees (Cornelius) Richard Maxey gained a degree in Chemistry from St Andrews university and worked as a research chemist in industry for many years. A mid-career change saw him take over as Director of the Africa Educational Trust, which helped provide education opportunity to African students especially those in areas of conflict, including at that time the ‘front-line states’ of southern Africa, and more recently leading to a greater focus on Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

CEC’s interests in African education (including its engagement with post-majority-rule South Africa) and Commonwealth student mobility brought Kees into contact with CEC whose Management Committee he joined in the 1990s. He served as Secretary of the working party chaired by Prof Lalage Bown on Commonwealth student mobility which produced a report Student Mobility on the Map.  Kees’s knowledge of student mobility issues and his proficiency at handling data enabled him to prepare a series of valuable updates (published by CEC) to that report, analysing the latest trends and data on Commonwealth student interchange and which helped inform CEC submissions to successive Commonwealth Education Ministers Conferences.

It was CEC’s great good fortune that when Trevor Bottomley retired as CEC Secretary, Kees agreed to take over.  Serving alongside Richard Mawditt as Treasurer until they both retired in June 2011, he was at the core of a CEC management team overseeing one of the most active periods in CEC history.  It included major conferences on Nigerian education at Lensbury in 2003 and CEC’s Golden Jubilee Conference in Oxford in 2009, and a host of annual conferences and special meetings.   Anyone now consulting CEC’s archival records with the University of London will be impressed by the completeness and orderliness of the records Kees kept and the amount of activity and correspondence that fell to his lot as well as by the regularity of his attendance at CEC events.

Kees performed all these duties with utmost probity and quiet efficiency, never seeking the limelight for himself.  He was a ready source of useful contacts for CEC from his previous work and of ideas for future activity.  His friendliness, openness and personal courtesy, and his passionate concern for equality and inclusiveness, were universally admired and helped secure CEC’s good reputation with partner organisations.

Kees’s many outside interests included a strong Christian commitment and service to his local United Reformed Church (where Sheila was for many years the Minister); active service to the Labour Party in local government (including himself serving as a councillor); voluntary work including for CEC and Penha; travel and friendships across many continents embracing his own family connections with Holland and Sheila’s with Germany; a great love of sailing and boating; and devotion to his growing family.

Kees and Sheila celebrated their Diamond Wedding this last summer.  They have three children and eight grandchildren.

CEC gratefully acknowledges its great debt to this outstanding colleague. May his soul rest in peace.

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