It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our Honorary Life Members, Cherry Day.
Cherry volunteered with the Association for many years and was Vice President Equal Opportunities (and later Vice President Equality and Diversity) as well as Chairing the Disabled Students Group for a number of years and was also a long-serving Central Committee Representative. Cherry’s passion for supporting students with a protected characteristic was evident through her tireless hours spent championing change. When asked what the best thing about being a student rep was Cherry said, “Being a member of one of the best ‘families’ in the world and knowing you can make a difference for the students you represent.” There have been many volunteers who Cherry nurtured into the ‘family’ as her legacy lives on.
Cherry will be greatly missed by so many, and The Students Association would like to send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and anyone saddened by her passing.
Cherry was a firm believer that education should be open to all and was instrumental in the creation of the Library Study Volunteer service, recognising a real need for this support and championing it within the student leadership team. To honour her legacy in this work we have set up donations in her name to the OU Students Educational Trust which helps students in financial hardship, including Students in Secure Environments. If you would like to make a donation in Cherry’s name you can do so here.
Long time friend and fellow Central Executive Committee member, Steph Stubbins, made the following dedication to Cherry that really encompasses the wonderful person Cherry was...
“It is with sadness that I acknowledge that a great friend and inspirational lady ‘Cherry Day’ passed on the 14th June 2022. I wanted to share some of our story here.
Cherry had a unique background, being focused on her dynamic career as a businesswoman, she was proud of her achievements. She travelled around the world and shared tales of her adventures. She enjoyed an array of music and loved the arts and literature. She was at her best when socialising and meeting new people, having the ‘biggest smile in the room’.
When she was diagnosed with Cerebellar Ataxia (a slow debilitating condition), she decided to keep her mind busy by studying an Open Degree with the Open University. It didn’t take her long to get involved with the O U student community, volunteering both regionally and with the Disabled Students Group (D S G). She was a welcoming and proactive D S G Chair for over 6 years, and an amazing Vice President Equality and Diversity representative for another 4 years.
I have so many fond memories of Cherry, and I know she made a positive impact for so many OU students. Her catch phrase was “wearing my D S G Hat…”. Her passion to help others was renowned within the Disabled Students Group community, and her Students Association work became a large part of her life.
Cherry was the first O U student I met early in 2015 (both online and then face to face) and she got me ‘involved’ with volunteering (very quickly). First as the D S G Communications Officer in 2015, working with her on the committee, then before I knew it, I was involved in other Students Association roles working alongside her, including 4 years on the Central Executive Committee. We became close friends very quickly. Although we felt like we had known each other forever, and we made a pact, we would remain lifelong friends.
We often spent time together on and off campus, including in the same meetings, between meetings, and at the end of each day over a glass of red wine or 3. Over the years, we also worked and socialised online. She was a constant support to me, both as a colleague and as a close friend, and especially when my own health and mobility deteriorated.
We had an incredible friendship, which continued after she was too ill to volunteer in 2020. We visited each other in our homes and had days out socialising and having fun, including whizzing around in our wheelchairs next to a river, going to the zoo, meals out, trips to the cinema, and she even stayed with me to join in with our family celebrations.
She leaves behind her younger brother Pete who she adored, she often talked about him and was very proud of his work; often giving updates about where he was in the world and his music tours. Cherry was still supporting her Mum (who is in her 90’s) when she could, although Covid restrictions made this more difficult for her to do.
It is with sadness that I mark her passing; but I can only remember the good times we shared and acknowledge all the outstanding work she did over the years for OU Students and the Students Association. Cherry was and is unforgettable. She was a true friend and an inspiration to everyone she met.”