Neaverson legacy

University memories will last forever thanks to £70,000 legacy gift

Photograph of Ruth MaguireFew things are more precious than our memories, and thanks to Catherine Janet Neaverson (known as “Janet”) some of the University’s most treasured memories are to be preserved forever.

Her legacy gift of £70,000 has supported the appointment of Ruth Maguire as Assistant Digital Archivist to spearhead the University's digital preservation initiatives, focusing on records related to the discovery and identification of Richard III.

Janet’s legacy gift is not just about immediate impact; it's laying the groundwork for broader integration of digital preservation practices, and will safeguard the institutional memory of one of the most significant events of our history. Ruth is liaising with key stakeholders from the Richard III project to arrange transfer of records to the archives, and to develop, test and implement processes to ensure their long-term preservation and access.

As part of her role, Ruth will lead the training of the Archives and Special Collections team, ensuring that digital preservation becomes a standard aspect of their work. By leaving a gift in her will, Janet’s generosity is not just advancing digital archiving for today but is also equipping the University for a more digitally resilient future, enabling a growing backlog of digital material to be assessed, stored, catalogued, and made available to interested parties.

Ruth’s role was made possible by Janet when she included a generous gift equivalent to 10% of her residual estate in her will, for which the University is immensely grateful. A residual gift refers to a percentage of the remaining estate after specific gifts, debts, and taxes have been settled. Janet’s husband, Peter, was an Honorary Fellow at the University, and both Peter and Janet had a keen interest in local history and heritage.

Photo of Richard III statueSimon Dixon, Associate Director for Community and Heritage in Library and Learning Services, said: “This is a landmark project for the University Archives. Digital records are fragile and without intervention they are at risk of being lost forever as technology changes. 

The discovery of Richard III created many thousands of digital files and terabytes of data. I am delighted that this generous bequest will enable us to work with Ruth for the next two years to capture these records for future generations to discover and research.”

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