Seven Stories would like to pay tribute to our friend Jan Clements MBE who passed away on 15th July 2018.

Jan was instrumental in helping to establish Seven Stories as a founding member of our charity; she sat as Chair on the Board of Trustees, was a passionate supporter and advocate for Seven Stories and continued to volunteer her time and share her librarianship skills and knowledge with our Collection team. Her wisdom and enthusiasm will be sadly missed.

Mary Briggs, joint founder and first Chief Executive of Seven Stories, remembers Jan’s contribution:

From the outset Jan was an integral part of the growth and development of Seven Stories. My early memories of her involvement are in 1998 as a volunteer at our first exhibition “Daft as a Bucket” celebrating the work of Colin McNaughton. The exhibition was so popular that Elizabeth Hammill and I had to send out a plea to our friends and colleagues in the children’s literature field to come and help us manage the very many children and adults who wanted to come and see Colin and his work.

Jan was forward thinking and committed to culture, literature and literacy in the North East. Her knowledge of children’s literature was recognised both locally and nationally and she was a founding member and successful chair of the Northern Children’s Book Festival, a pioneering collaborative literature festival bringing together children and young people with writers, illustrators and books. It thrived under her leadership and she was later honoured with an MBE.

With acknowledged management skills, a reputation for getting things done plus her energy, vitality and charismatic personality Jan was an ideal choice to be a member of Seven Stories newly formed Board of Trustees. She served as a member of several of its sub committees and became the chair of the Board at a critical time in our journey to realise Seven Stories. She worked tirelessly on our behalf collaborating with solicitors, accountants, bureaucrats, publishers, authors, illustrators and many others, all of whom recognised her professionalism and commitment.

She was a remarkable woman who gave her time and energy unstintingly and made a difference. Her highly significant contribution to Seven Stories success will never be forgotten."

We would also like to thank Jan’s husband Ron for so kindly suggesting that donations in Jan’s memory may be made to Seven Stories, to continue the work that she helped to establish and guide in our first years.