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Son pays tribute to journalists’ teeline teacher

A shorthand author and unsung heroine to countless wannabe regional journalists – including her own son – has died at the age of 90.

Meriel Bowers has touched the lives of many aspiring news hounds for the last four decades after writing and co-authoring several successful books on how to learn Teeline.

As a teacher she helped people seeking professional shorthand qualifications and as chief examiner in Teeline for the Royal Society of Arts set the standards to attain.

Her son Keith Bowers, a former Bedfordshire Times reporter, paid tribute to his mum’s “lively and inquiring mind” in a Guardian obituary.

Yorkshire-born Meriel served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two where she met her future civil servant husband, Harvey, who came to Dewsbury on a work project, and they continued their relationship long distance while he was stationed in Iraq, Iran, Rhodes and Egypt.

She was forced into teaching in her 40s, to find full-time work to support her two children after Harvey was permanently incapacitated by illness.

Keith, who went on to be in charge of all the BBC’s international current affairs output on television, domestic radio and the World Service, said: “She was a particular inspiration to me during my 20-year career with the BBC as a producer and executive editor in news and current affairs.

“In retirement she amazed her grandchildren by going off on jaunts around the world, including one mad dash on Concorde from London to Cairo for lunch. In the same year she went on a cruise to the Arctic and then beyond South Georgia to Antarctica.”

She’s clearly left an indelible mark on her journalist offspring as Keith now works primarily in training and education – currently leading the television course on a new Masters programme in Communication at Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa University, having tutored journalists in several other countries including Trinidad, Spain, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

Mrs Bowers, who moved to be nearer her daughter Gill in 2000, died in sheltered housing in York.