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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Janis Fitch 1938 – 2012

Janis FitchJanis Fitch, the Institute’s bookkeeper from 2005 until this year, died in London in November after a short illness. She was 74. A staunch atheist, Janis loved cats, bright clothes, jewellery and photography.

Keith Blaxill, the RVI’s accountant, writes: Loyalty was Janis’s hallmark. In her youth she worked for W. Vernon & Associates, a one-man-and-a-dog outfit run by an urbane German-Jewish émigré and bon-viveur known only as Vernon (he never used his given name). Janis did everything, including walking Vernon’s spaniel. In 1979 W. Vernon merged with my firm, Nash Broad & Co, in Portland Place and some time later Janis became my secretary. Though we did not always see eye to eye-and Janis did not hesitate to say so-it was always a pleasure to work with her. Our clients had no secrets from Janis; and she was resolutely protective of their confidence. She survived Vernon’s retirement, then various subsequent changes of company identity, ending her career at Chantrey Vellacott in Russell Square, from where, in the early 2000s, she retired from full-time work to her home in Morden, South London.

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