My mother, Beulah Ainley, who died at the age of 77, was a nurse-turned-journalist and an outspoken promoter of diversity in the media world, including championing the creation of the George Viner Memorial Fund, which provided scholarships to more than 150 students from ethnic minorities to undergo training in journalism.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, to Ruby (née Hall), a housekeeper, and her husband, Rudolph Golding, a shoemaker, Beulah attended Kingston High School. When she was 18, after her parents divorced, she and her mother and brother, Errol, emigrated to England.
Moving to Birmingham, Beulah studied at Handsworth College before training as a state registered nurse at Staffordshire General Infirmary in Stafford. She worked there as a nurse and midwife (1970-77), then moved to the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she was an older sister in the medical wards. It was at the Royal Free that Beulah met Patrick Ainley, who was working there temporarily as a porter after studying at Cambridge University. They married in 1979.
Patrick became an English teacher and the two shared a love of languages which led Beulah to leave nursing to pursue a degree in English and Caribbean Literature at North London Polytechnic (now London Metropolitan University).
After graduating in 1981, she returned to midwifery for a time, but gradually changed careers to become a journalist. She started out writing a health column for the East End News, a local weekly newspaper run as a cooperative, she joined the newspaper’s staff in 1983, eventually becoming one of its co-editors. .
In 1984 she also took on the role of press officer with the Greater London Enterprise Board, combining this work for two years with ongoing contributions to East End News. From 1986 she was freelance, writing for publications such as the Times Educational Supplement, New Scientist, UK Press Gazette and the British Journalism Review, often on equality and diversity.
Once transitioned to writing, Beulah became an active member of the National Union of Journalists, serving on its independent industry council and black member council. There, in 1986, she helped establish the George Viner Memorial Fund, of which she served for many years as a trustee.
In 1994, she obtained a doctorate at the London School of Economics, and her thesis, which explored the representation of ethnic minority journalists in the British media, was published as a book, Black Journalists, White Media, in 1998. In 2002, she was awarded a Woman of Distinction Award by the Executives and Professionals Network, and her second book, Guide to Race Equality in Further Education, was released in 2007.
In her spare time, Beulah traveled extensively, enjoyed gardening, cooking, and listening to music, and often ran or walked to raise money for charity.
Although her final days were interrupted by a succession of increasingly serious illnesses, she retained her enthusiasm for life and greatly appreciated the dedicated care she received from Patrick and eventually his caregivers at the Lakeside nursing home in South Norwood, south-east London. .
She is survived by Patrick, me, two grandchildren, Lydia and Miles, and Errol.