Shirley Natanson Baehr 1951 – 2016

Recent photo in Siena

Shirley was born in April 1951. After attending local schools in the London area Shirley learned secretarial skills at Pitman’s College in Southampton Row. At the very young age of 17 she got her first job as Personal Assistant to the International Manager at Lou Grade’s Pye Record Company based at Marble Arch.  Shirley soon realised that she had the biggest workload in the open-plan office she shared with all the other secretaries, but she was refused a pay rise as she was too young.

Enterprising even at that young age, one morning in 1969 when her boss was working abroad Shirley left the office at 10:00 am to buy the Evening Standard in which she found an advertisement for a similar job with another record company. After an interview with the International Manager (again), for which she dressed very smartly in a green suit with matching leather gloves, Shirley found herself working for Apple Records in Lady Hamilton house, in Savile Row.
Shirley gradually gained more responsibility with EMI who manufactured the records. When Apple records closed in 1975 EMI offered Shirley the job of Label/Product Manager and she was then the only female executive. Her portfolio of artistes included the Beatles, both as a group and individually (with whom she had built up a relationship during her Apple years), Cilla Black, Cliff Richards, Olivia Newton-John and Kate Bush – a few names we all recognise.

Shirley and Laurence met in the late 1980’s and they then bought a house together in Mill Hill and married in December 1990 at Burnt Oak Registry Office. Laurence had always wanted to retire to somewhere in the sun and by the sea so they visited the Costa Blanca over Christmas and New Year 2003/4 and, loving the area, they bought a flat off-plan in Calpe, where they spent holidays before letting their English home in August ‘06 and moving to Spain permanently with their two dogs. Six months later, knowing it was the right decision, they sold the house in Mill Hill and subsequently bought their villa in Moraira.

Shirley was one of those rare people who worked tirelessly on behalf of others both in the thriving Jewish community based in Benidorm where she was secretary to the Comunidad Isrealita De Alicante and also as the Groups Coordinator in Moraira Teulada U3A.

Shirley was an inspirational, indefatigable lady, a “one off”.

At the inaugural meeting of the Moraira-Teulada U3A in May 2008 Shirley was one of the first to volunteer to help and at the first Steering Group Meeting she offered to be the Groups Coordinator and she has steadfastly and responsibly remained in that very demanding office ever since. Shirley was always promoting and having ideas for new groups and then helped the new Group Leader set up, find premises for the meetings, and in some cases started a group herself to get a new project off the ground.

A very active Committee Member, Shirley helped with organising events, had meetings at her home where members always received delicious coffee and cakes, and generally got involved with all sorts of U3A events. She was a keen supporter of the U3A Golden Oldies Music Group of which Laurence is a founder member. Shirley also enjoyed welcoming members of this group at the beginning of the popular Music nights and usually gave a small speech of thanks at the end.

Shirley regularly held parties at her home to raise funds for charities, was an animal lover and a devoted dog owner.

She was a person always on the go, always willing to help people, always the first to volunteer, always friendly.

She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her and our hearts go out to Laurence, to her sister Helen and to all of Shirley’s family.