Obituary: MRBA Co-founder Jenny Bowen
Jennifer (Jenny) Bowen, co-founder of the MRBA (Market Research Benevolent Association) and a former Chair of the MRS, died suddenly earlier this year at the age of 78.
Born in Cornwall in 1932, she studied Chemistry at Sir John Cass College, London, before moving into the market research sector with her first job at Procter and Gamble.
She then worked as Head of MAS Survey Research Ltd (later absorbed into TNS), during which time she also served as Chairman of the UK’s Market Research Society.
In 1977, she co-founded the MRBA, the body which provides financial help, advice and support to people who are working or have worked within the market research industry. She served as the association’s President from 1983 to 1987, and prior to her retirement in 2006 as its Regional Welfare Officer for the South of England.
She retired to Salisbury, where she worked as a volunteer Administrant and Server at the cathedral and sang in the congregation choir. She was also involved in the Southern Cathedrals Festival as General Administrator and Chairman of the Salisbury Committee, and she served as Chairman of the Friends of Harnham Water Meadows Trust.
In addition, she was the Wessex Region representative of the Friends of the Historic Houses Association, and helped organize and run a number of day tours to ‘not often open’ houses in the region.
An enthusiastic walker with the Cathedral Strollers, she also found time to take part in the 200-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. During this period, she was quoted as saying that ‘living in Salisbury is a bit like living in an Anthony Trollope novel - with Joanna Trollope overtones!’
Commenting on her death, MRBA Chairman Ian Brace said: ‘Much of what the MRBA is and does today was shaped by Jenny. Forthright, Jenny told you exactly how things stood. Generous and full of energy, she always made sure that things happened as and when they should. Attributes that served her well both in business and as co-founder of the MRBA. Her passing is a great loss.’
The Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral, Canon Jeremy Davies said that her many friends and her immediate family will miss her ‘warmth, her kindness, and her beaming personality’.
The MRBA is online at www.mrba.org.uk .