OBITUARY : Lord Goodman

I was sorry to see that in your interesting obituary of Lord Goodman [by Anthony Blond, Tam Dalyell, John Calder, and Professor Oliver Williams, 15 May] there was no reference to the great contribution he made to the Oxford Union Society, writes Harvey McGregor.

Some 20 years ago, soon after assuming the Mastership of University College, Goodman was invited by the Chancellor of Oxford University - Harold Macmillan - to become a trustee and do all he could to support the society, which the Chancellor regarded as a bastion of Western democracy. At that time the society was in difficulties: its finances were unsure, its membership falling, its buildings in serious disrepair.

Lord Goodman applied all his skills to further the interests of the Oxford Union, making substantial personal donations to it over the years. Today its finances stand on a solid footing, its membership has dramatically and enthusiastically increased, and the Union buildings are repaired and renovated. This sea-change is due in large part to the wise guidance of Lord Goodman, helped by financial support from an important source, and his relinquishment of the Chairmanship of the Trustees on account of deteriorating health was only recent.

As a measure of the affection and gratitude members of the Oxford Union held for him, one of its two libraries has been named after him, and over the chimneypiece his head, sculpted in bronze, dominates the room. The plaque below the head puts it well. It says in essence: Lord Goodman - Benefactor.

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