Leading Yorkshire Arts Philanthropist Barrie Pettman Dies

Opera North is mourning the death of Professor Barrie Pettman (1944 – 2017), who passed away earlier this month. Together with his wife Maureen, Professor Pettman was a generous and long-standing supporter of the Company, in particular funding the ground-breaking Pettman DARE Scholarship programme in partnership with the University of Leeds.

An academic, co-founder of Emerald Group Publishing, editor of several scholarly journals and President emeritus of Burke’s Peerage, Professor Pettman was also a leading philanthropist with a strong belief in helping musically gifted children to reach their full potential.

The Pettmans were founding Diamond Patrons of Opera North and were instrumental in generating support for the Company in Hull and East Yorkshire. The University of Hull was Professor Pettman’s alma mater and he returned there to lecture in industrial relations from 1970 to 1982. The couple divided their time between homes in Holderness and New Zealand, where their contributions to the cultural life included their sponsorship of the Pettman National Junior Academy of Music at the University of Auckland.

The establishment of the Pettman DARE scholarship in 2010, as part of Opera North’s partnership with the University of Leeds, continued the Pettmans’ commitment to music education with a genuinely pioneering initiative, at the same time forging significant links between their homes in Yorkshire and New Zealand.

This unique programme offers two scholarships each year, one for an EU citizen and one for a citizen of New Zealand, giving talented young people an early-career opportunity to work within Opera North’s Education department at the same time as studying Masters-level modules towards a postgraduate diploma at the University of Leeds.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, commented:

“Professor Barrie Pettman was a much-loved member of the Opera North family, and his death is a great loss to us all. His generosity in assisting young people in the pursuit of their dreams, his sharp intelligence and sense of mischief, his great love of Mozart and Haydn – rivalled by his sometimes vocal dislike of Wagner and Strauss – will all be keenly missed.

“Four Pettman DARE scholars past and present attended Barrie’s funeral, which is a measure of the affection in which he was held, and the difference that he made to the lives of his many beneficiaries. Our thoughts are with Maureen at this sad time.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, commented:
“I was privileged to have met Professor Barrie Pettman and his wife Maureen on a number of occasions and was deeply saddened to hear of Barrie’s passing. Their unfailing commitment in supporting the development of talented young people through the Pettman DARE Fellowship programme has been outstanding, and life-changing for the nine Fellows who have benefited from their generous support since 2010.

“Maureen has always taken a close personal interest in the professional development of the Fellows and, alongside her, we look forward to welcoming a further six Pettman DARE Fellows to Leeds over the next three years. Barrie will be sadly missed by his many friends and admirers at the University and we send warm good wishes to Maureen at this most difficult time.”

Professor Barrie Pettman, Baron of Bombie, Kircudbrightshire, academic, publisher and philanthropist, born 22 February 1944, died 2 June 2017.