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Tribute to Diana Kahn 1948-2022

Published on 08 June 2022 01:03 PM

We are very sorry to report the recent death of Diana Kahn, who was Chair of Trustees for Age UK Lambeth between 2011 and 2018.  On 13th May 2022, she died peacefully at home, following the re-emergence of cancer, having been in remission for over ten years.  She leaves behind her husband, Terence, and two children, Laura and Mark. 

Diana was a force of nature, demonstrating full commitment to everything important to her. We at Age UK Lambeth benefitted hugely from that commitment, both when she was a Trustee and particularly when she was our Chair.  Previously Diana had also served as a Trustee to Age UK Wandsworth. 

Diana brought her experience of being a senior Civil servant as well as her formidable intellect to bear in our organisation.  At her core there was a sizeable sense of civic responsibility, which she took very seriously.  She was a rigorous thinker who was not only willing to hear but interested in hearing other points of view.  During her leadership of AUKL, she fostered the development of an environment that promoted and supported change, without compromising on governance.   She was a phenomenal networker, making sure the voice of AUKL was heard regionally and locally, and that we would never be overlooked. As Chair she was generous of her time in supporting her co-trustees, especially those who were new to the role.   

Graham writes:  As the Chief Executive, I found that Diana and I were opposite ends of any scale you could put in front of us. To help us understand this a bit more we worked through a book about the relationship between CEO and Chairs. At the end of every chapter, we realised we couldn’t be more different. And yet, our partnership worked - very well, as it turned out. I learned so much from Diana, much of which I use almost every day in my role as a Charity CEO. I was humbled to hear her say she felt the same. 

Diana was a phenomenal human being, and I enjoyed her company very much. She had a way of cutting straight to the issue and giving me the freedom to explore solutions. She taught me so much about understanding the strategic dynamics at play in any given situation and helped me find a way through some tricky moments. I’m very glad that our paths crossed in this lifetime. 

Kate adds:  I was honoured to succeed Diana as Chair of AUKL, and was very grateful to her for the unstinting support and wise guidance I received from her.  Like Graham, I learned a great deal from working with her.  Her contribution to the development of AUKL as a charity able to play its full part in the local strategic partnerships was and remains decisive, and her legacy will be long-lasting. 

Our thoughts are with Terence, Laura and Mark; we hope that they are surrounded with love and friendship at this difficult time and that they take comfort from knowing how much of a difference Diana’s commitment and hard work made to so many people.

Graham Gardiner

Kate Woollcombe 

Donations

Diana’s family have requested that, instead of flowers, donations to Age UK Lambeth would be much appreciated.  

A Just Giving page dedicated to Diana has been set up here