Carol Bibby

25th October 1960 – 14th January 2019

Carol and I were together for 26 years. She was sexy, clever and witty. Direct, emotionally intelligent, obsessive and flawed. Passionate and pedantic. Loving and kind. Generous, brilliant and brave.

I don’t really know how this page will take shape as yet, maybe it’s here as a notebook for me to create in the way I know best. For now, here are some of the immediate reflections about Carol.

Celebration of Carol’s life

Fundraiser for the National Kidney Federation, charity dedicated to working for patients and carers.

Carol and I made some videos when she started on home haemodialysis. She did home haemo for 5 years.

Carol talking about the benefits of home haemodialysis and me trying to get her to say how wonderful I am!
Carol getting set up for the dialysis session
More setting up for dialysis session

Just a month before she died, Carol made a note to herself: “The magic you’ve always believed in, will show you a road.”

A Ghostly Company tribute to Carol

Carol was a member of A Ghostly Company, a society for devotees of the ghost story. She was held in high regard. Here’s what one of their members wrote about Carol:

We will all miss Carol Bibby, who was a wonderful Companion in all senses, with acerbic wit, great kindness and a deep devotion to the works of M.R. James (and an additional passion for James McBryde). She was instrumental in keeping A Ghostly Company going when it was threatened with dissolution after the resignation of Clive Ward as
Chairman, her diplomatic skills tested to the utmost. Mike Calvert
attended her memorial in Todmorden.

Carol Bibby (Mike Calvert)
I attended a memorial service on 28 January for our Companion Carol
Bibby, who many of you will know and have met. The memorial was a
very dignified celebration of Carol’s life, with eulogies being
delivered by her best friend Dave Blyth and Carol’s husband Jak
The music played were pieces of Carol’s favourites from a
very eclectic collection. The memorial opened with Purcell’s
Dido and Aeneas Act 1 and ended with Out in the Street by Bruce
Springsteen. I remember having a good conversation with Carol about
music when we were driving, I forget where. I probably didn’t
gain any Brownie Points by saying that I could take him or leave him. My collection of Springsteen was limited to a copy of his Greatest Hits CD. This to Carol who must be up there as one of his number one fans.
Dave told us of Carol’s success at gaining a place at Grammar School, no mean feat for a girl in those days, where she achieved 4 A levels. This took her to Emmanuel College Cambridge, again a major
achievement. She graduated from here with a degree in History, adding a MA in Sociology from the University of Hull later. All in all, Carol was a very intelligent and accomplished woman. It probably goes without saying that she owned a ‘vast’ collection of ghost stories. Her love for and membership of A Ghostly Company was shared during the eulogies.
Carol was one of the long-standing members of A Ghostly Company. She attended most of our events, only falling off due to her deteriorating health. It was on my first Black Pilgrimage that I met her. I was also to find out that her memory of Latin far outstretched my meagre memories of devotional Latin. I found that she also read and spoke Greek.
Her husband, Jak, told the unfortunate story of the time they were victims of gay bashing; Carol was particularly badly hurt. Being Carol, this did not keep her down.
Unfortunately, her deteriorating health took up more and more of her time. She was subject to dialysis treatment for some time, finally succumbing to a brain aneurysm.

Tribute from Adam

Like everyone in the 80s, she did pallor and big coats pretty well.  She wouldn’t have smiled for a photo.  Her hair was boyishly cut, but not dead short.  She came across as controlled rather than naturally confident, but I think she was pretty fearless.  She had a very clipped accent, the result of her schooling.  She didn’t talk about school or home much, but I did find out she’d been in the Sealed Knot, and decided not to tease her about it.  One of the images I retain is the little formal bow she’d turn to execute in my doorway on parting.  That and her compulsive tamping of the end of her cigarette on the table before lighting it, like my Grandad used to.  I used to tell her you didn’t need to do that any more, but she’d just chuckle and do it again with the next one.  That’s one I would definitely locate in a pub.  She could be gregarious, but I think was better one on one.  People liked her. We were out of step with most of them, even the lefties.  (I’m proud of her, can you tell?)  

The audio

  • Haddaway What is Love
  • The Key the Secret
  • Gluck Orfeo
  • Let the Great Big World Keep Turning sung by Paul McGann, impossible to track down
  • Oh oh Antonio
  • Bruce Hungry Heart
  • Phantom of the Opera

The visual

  • Play for Today
  • Shakespeare history plays (Carol had studied history at Cambridge)
  • All the Bruce Willis Die Hard movies
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • MR James 1970s Christmas ghost stories
  • All the Jurassic Park movies
  • Alan Rickman

The books

  • MR James
  • Dorothy L Sayers
  • Just William
  • Little Women
  • Robertson Davies
  • Howard Spring
  • Penelope Fitzgerald
  • Stephen King, nearly every single one

Please support the National Kidney Federation, who help patients and carers.