Bet Tickner – friends remember

BET TICKNER, BBC journalist, linguist, walker, craftswoman and political animal, died in Caversham, Reading, on 6 January 2024, after a brief period of palliative care. She was born in London in 1946, attending Hornsey High School and then studied Russian and French at the University of Birmingham. Her first job after university was in Cameroon, where she spent two years translating and interpreting. In 1973 she joined The BBC Monitoring Service (later BBC Monitoring/BBCM), which sat within the World Service and was based at Caversham Park, Reading.
Bet began her long career with BBCM working in the French and Russian teams, later switching to editorial work on the Asia-Pacific desk. After a spell as a duty editor, she moved into management, spending two years as Head of the East Africa Unit in Nairobi. Accompanied by her son, Paul, Bet made the most of opportunities for exploring East Africa and beyond, where she rejoiced in trekking and learning about African textiles and crafts.
On her return to the UK, Bet moved into the then new Customer Services Unit at BBCM, which she had helped to set up, liaising with official and government customers. She relished the multilingual and multicultural environment, and the insight into international politics at the heart of the operation. She served more than 30 years at BBCM before she retired.
A lifelong socialist and active member of the National Union of Journalists and the Labour Party, Bet was a local councillor for Abbey Ward in Reading for 16 years, serving as Mayor of Reading from 2006-2007. She also sat on the Royal Berkshire Hospital Board, and was a trustee of the Reading Refugee Support Group. After retirement she worked in the voluntary sector, pursuing her particular interests of health care and crafts.
Off duty, Bet was an enthusiastic member of a walking group who took off for long weekends and holidays in hilly and mountainous places from Derbyshire to the borders of Nepal. Closer to home, she devised superb walks for friends, exploring the Thames Valley and the Chiltern Hills that she knew so well.
Bet made a difference to the lives of many; she will be sorely missed