NEWS14 November 2014

Tribute to Valerie Farbridge

News UK

UK — Valerie Farbridge, chairman of the Market Research Society between 1981-1983, and one of only four people ever appointed an honorary fellow of the Society, has died.

She was born in Lewisham 84 years ago, and after early experience with Unilever, in 1963 she joined National Opinion Polls which was then merely a small department of the Daily Mail’s parent company, Associated Newspapers.

As its first field manager, she rapidly set about recruiting and training a first-class team of interviewers. In the next few years it gained its independence as NOP Market Research, and became one of the leading UK companies in the MR industry. She was appointed a main board director in the seventies, and remained with the company throughout her career. She looked after the interests of her staff with kindness and encouragement, and they were very loyal to her.

Valerie was also very active in supporting the rights and status of interviewers across the UK, and was elected chairman of the MRS in 1981. Alongside her day job, she also devoted time and effort over many years to helping the homeless as a volunteer at the well-known outreach centre at St Martin’s-in-the-Fields; and she was the editor and main contributor to their regular newsletter.

Then soon after retiring in 1990, she was appointed an honorary fellow of the MRS.  

She spent much of her later years very active in the social life of Hythe in Kent, with a love of travel (and of all things French) and the arts (producing many beautiful figure studies and floral paintings, the best of which were donated to the MRBA annual auctions).

For the past fifteen years she shared her life with Paul Handley who had been a colleague at NOP in the sixties, and a close friend for fifty years. As her health began to fail, Paul’s devoted care helped her to remain active as long as possible and brought comfort and happiness to the end.