Nicky Belben Obituary

Nicola (Nicky) Belben died 16th December 2023. Her close friend Bridget Goldsmith (B1 1974-76) has shared the following words:

Nicky passed away peacefully in the south of France, her home of the past decade, which she  shared with her beloved husband Trevor.

There were 25 girls that entered the College in 1974, 3 of us in B1. Nicky lived in the attic, one term bringing her mynah bird to live with us too. She was bubbly, shrewd, intelligent, softly spoken (but always heard), late with work (but achieving miraculous results), and had an infectious chuckle, the memory of which we still hear clearly, and smile. She maintained lifelong friendships with her ‘gang’ of OMs, mainly from B1, C1 and C2. Her father David (C2 1942-47) and brother Geoff (B1 1977-82) were also OMs.

Nicky studied psychology at Exeter University after which she was offered a graduate training in HR for the now defunct Standard Telephones and Cables plc. This was the springboard for working in a succession of large companies, latterly working at Transport for London (many tough union meetings) and the Kingfisher group.

Always adventurous, she decided to take a year off and go travelling to Central and East Africa, where she happily met her Australian husband to be, Trevor, running an over-landing company in an open sided truck, an enterprise which she joined with gusto. From there the two lived and worked in Australia, finding their way back to Africa when Nicky was offered a position as Director of a mining company in Ghana. Having been born in Ghana, and now married to an ex-mining engineer, this was an interesting and fitting career finale.

Opting for early retirement Nicky and Trevor bought and renovated an old vintner’s house in St Geniѐs de Fontedit where Nicky typically made many good friends, learned excellent French and lived life to the full, right to the very end. She undertook a long tour to visit friends in the UK in Summer 2022, and made short visits in early 2023, one to the funeral of her dear father. We now realise these were valedictory, very brave trips. Unbeknownst to us her days were numbered, and she typically wanted everyone to treat her ‘normally’, not knowing about her illness.

Nicky will be much missed by her husband, family and many friends for her joie de vivre, enthusiasm, integrity, empathy, loyalty, and that happy laugh.