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KC Group Newsletter

Autumn 2003

Maria Loftus 1946-2003

Below is an appreciation of Maria Loftus, a group member who died
in a skiing accident a few months ago. The Keratoconus Group
received over £500 in donations following her funeral in May 2003.

Maria had trained as a teacher, working at several schools in Islington and Southwark through the 1970’s and into the 1980s. I think she was first diagnosed with KC by Moorfields in her early 30s – one of her friends mentioned that this was one of the few times something had ‘got to her’.

She was a very positive person, and very good at looking at the kids in her classes as individuals, and bringing out the best in them.

In career terms, she specialised in mathematics education, before moving to the ILEA to help schools introduce Records of Achievement. When the government shut down the GLC and the ILEA, she took the opportunity to change direction, taking an MSc in Information & Systems in Management at Sheffield Business School, and moving into consultancy.

She had become very involved in the British Quality Foundation, and latterly, as an associate, with London Excellence.

In the 1980s, friends introduced her to climbing and mountaineering, which was how we met. This took us to campsites and crags across England and Scotland, and trips further abroad, to the Alps, Nepal, India, Canada and New Zealand. She died in a crevasse fall, while ski-touring
with friends in the Swiss Alps.

With contact lenses, the dusty nature of some of these places was a problem, and she had some wrap-around sunglasses to keep the grit at bay when she was climbing. In the Alps, you tend to make a very early start, and she would be up even earlier to make sure she had time to sort
out her lenses. (About a year ago, she had been given some sclerals, but had not got into using them.).

She had a wonderful sense of colour, manifested in her paintings, and in the garden we were creating at an old forge up in Derbyshire. A great friend, always taking time to encourage other people, she was well known for her infectious laughter.

David Naylor

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