Ravi Chowdhry obituary

Other Lives: Teacher and BBC researcher who served on various bodies in Newcastle

As a young woman in the late 1950s my mother, Ravi Chowdhry, who has died aged 82, moved from India to England, where she became a teacher, a BBC researcher and a pillar of the local community.

She was born in Sahiwal in the Punjab, in what was then British India, to Balkrishan Sardana, who owned and ran a starch factory, and his wife, Rukhmani. After attending Missouri school she went to Ludhiana University, where she gained a degree in history.

In her early 20s she married Har-Parkash (Harry) Chowdhry, an industrial chemist, and when he moved to England for work she joined him in 1959. Shortly afterwards she did teacher training at King’s College in Newcastle upon Tyne (now Newcastle University), and, while bringing up two children, spent most of her teaching career at Slatyford comprehensive school in Newcastle, where she specialised in English, history and English as a second language.

After many years at Slatyford her headmaster, who recognised Ravi’s talent and versatility, helped her in the late 80s to switch careers to take on a job as a regional adviser for the BBC in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, researching audiences and advising about programming and education. She did this on a part-time basis for almost 15 years, while also working for the Newcastle-based charity Search, advising older people on their rights, and somehow finding time to run a guest house in Jesmond.

Over the years she was also involved in translating documents into South Asian languages for Newcastle city council, and she served locally on the executive of the Commission for Racial Equality, the police authority and a health panel. She could be controversial and radical in a non-threatening way, and could also speak and debate very well in public, often for the Indian Association of Newcastle, of which she was president.

She retired in 2005 to look after her husband, who was by then in ill-health. After he died in 2014 she eventually took the opportunity to travel to various parts of the world, visiting Australia, India, the US and a number of countries in Europe.

On top of all her achievements, above all she was a fantastic mam; loving, kind and compassionate, and someone who knew how to keep calm in all circumstances. She is survived by her children, me and Rosina, and by two grandchildren, Aneesha and Rohan.

Ricky Chowdhry

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Tony Tynan obituary
Other lives: Curator of the Hancock Museum in Newcastle

Angus Lunn

10, Oct, 2018 @4:31 PM

Article image
Marcus Price obituary
Other lives: Owner of a famous menswear shop in Newcastle

Sheilagh Matheson

10, Oct, 2018 @3:59 PM

Article image
Reay Atkinson obituary
Other lives: Senior civil servant who became regional director ot Department of Trade and Industry in Newcastle

Alastair Balls

20, Mar, 2018 @6:23 PM

Article image
Jim Faley obituary
Other lives: Fireman on steam locomotives with the London and North Eastern Railway

Catherine Faley

25, Apr, 2018 @4:53 PM

Article image
Bruce Grant obituary
Other lives: Engineer and flying fanatic whose later life was devoted to raising money for charity

Barbara Fox

30, Jul, 2021 @4:48 PM

Article image
Steve Cohen obituary
Other lives: One of Newcastle’s most respected and influential Labour party activists

Chi Onwurah

06, Feb, 2020 @5:16 PM

Article image
Ian Douglas obituary
Other lives: Trade union researcher, financial analyst and treasurer of the MS Society

Carl Gardner

25, Mar, 2019 @3:09 PM

Article image
Dorothy Emmerson obituary
Other lives: Primary school secretary who survived for 67 years with only one lung

David Emmerson

29, Aug, 2018 @4:21 PM

Article image
Bryan Down obituary
Other lives: Electronics engineer who spent more than a quarter of a century at Ferranti

Libby Howard

01, Apr, 2020 @2:55 PM

Article image
Sir Terry Harrison obituary
Other lives: Engineer and chief executive of successful businesses who went on to serve on charity boards

Alan Kilburn

16, Sep, 2019 @12:11 PM