|5 Jan 2023|
27 July 1979 - 28 July 2021
Written by Anna's husband, Matthew and Anna's friends, Stephanie Biden (D 1997) and Claire Harding née Dally (V 1997)
Anna joined the St Swithun’s family in 1986. Through junior and senior school she developed a deep love of music; a passion she carried throughout her life. As a pianist, clarinettist and singer Anna performed in everything from school orchestra to Winchester Operatics, a highlight perhaps starring in the school’s production of Annie. Inclined to introversion, Anna would light up on stage, both in musicals and in the range of choirs with which she sang throughout her life.
Anna’s lifelong interest in science and technology was embedded at the school, epitomised by winning a national technology competition with close friends with a prize trip to Boston. The friends remember the excitement of being collected from the airport in a glamorous stretch limo along with Mr Clark and his wife, only to complete the journey crammed into the back of a taxi after being dropped at the wrong hotel! Anna’s school pursuits were accompanied by a deep love of sport and the outdoors and a wall crammed full of rosettes attests to her equestrian skills.
Anna wore her significant talents and achievements lightly. She somehow combined finishing top of her year academically as Mowbray Scholar, with Grade 8 Piano Distinction and a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at the same time, demonstrating a determination which she brought to all aspects of her life. A friend remembers fondly: Anna was amazing at everything she turned her hand to, from ballet to music to maths. And out of all of my friends she also gave the best hugs (a proper bear hug).
Others remember her smile, which would light up a room, or the quiet way she would reach out to support in their moments of vulnerability.
Anna went on to study physiology at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, continuing her musical pursuits as College Organ Scholar, whilst somehow fitting in coxing the College Eight and performing with the University G&S Society. She met her husband whilst coxing in Summer Eights and it was during her performance of Maid No.2 in My Fair Lady he was smitten.
Post-Oxford Anna joined Bain Consulting before heading off to Beijing and Hong Kong to join her husband on diplomatic postings. It was overseas that Anna managed to combine her career and love of the arts, joining the British Council to organise arts and outreach events. Anna was deeply involved in the Hong Kong Arts Festival, bringing the National Theatre and Royal Ballet to Hong Kong and hosting such luminaries as novelist Ian McEwan.
Anna had a strong drive to make a difference. On her return to the UK, it was this combined with her love of science which led her to WWF and a deep commitment to their conservation mission. Her efforts culminated in acting as operations manager for the Netflix Series Our Planet, the subsequent film with David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet and all the surrounding activities, from organising the film premier at the Royal Albert Hall to appearances at Davos (the World Economic Forum).
In her personal life, Anna was a loving wife to Matthew and devoted mum of two to Izzy and Ben, passing on to them her love of music (Ben is a drummer, Izzy a singer), science and sport.
Sadly Anna developed cancer whilst overseas and fought it bravely to the end in the manner in which she had lived, with grace, strength and courage.