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ESB appoints its New Honorary Life President – Merriel Halsall-Williams!

Merriel Halsall-Williams

Congratulations to ESB’s former Vice-President, Merriel Halsall-Williams who takes up her position as Honorary Life President.

ESB’s previous Honorary Life President, Jocelyn Bell sadly passed away in 2020 and we celebrated her life’s work and immense contribution to the organisation at her service of remembrance.

Jocelyn’s contribution is also remembered through ESB’s prestigious Burniston Bell Award, named in honour of our founder, Christabel Burniston and Jocelyn.  The award ensures the continuation of their legacy and recognises the exceptional work of ESB teachers who are keeping Christabel and Jocelyn’s vision alive today.

Merriel receiving the Richard Ellis Award in 2018 for her outstanding contribution to ESB

Says ESB’s Chief Executive, Tina Renshaw, “I would like to congratulate Merriel on her appointment as Honorary Life President and thank her for her remarkable and on-going contribution to ESB. Merriel’s enduring relationship with ESB International began in 1953, when as a 15-year-old schoolgirl she met ESB’s founder Christabel Burniston. From that very moment, Merriel has made it her lifetime mission to champion the power of the spoken word. Her impact on public speaking is simply unique and immeasurable.

“Merriel was a dear friend of Jocelyn’s, and they shared many memories together. We are hopeful that Jocelyn would be happy knowing that such a talented lady as Merriel would be the one to act as stand-in for the role of ESB’s Honorary Life President.”

Says Merriel on her appointment: “I first met Christabel and Jocelyn when I enrolled as a student at Christabel’s Northwest School of Speech and Drama in Southport. Both Christabel and Jocelyn were truly inspirational teachers and role models, and I am so honoured to follow in their footsteps as ESB’s Honorary Life President. Since ESB’s inception, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact and value that its assessments have on individuals, equipping them with the speaking and listening skills to last them a lifetime”.

ESB is now seeking an Honorary Vice-President!

With Merriel taking up the role of Honorary Life President, ESB is seeking nominations from existing Friends or Members of ESB for a new Honorary Vice-President.

Nominations will require the support of the nominee as well as a nominator. As an honorary role, the Vice-President will continue to receive our termly ESB News and, additionally, will receive the agenda and minutes of the Meetings of the Trustees for information. 

ESB’s Chief Executive, Tina Renshaw will, each term, contact the President and Vice-President to share with them personally what is happening at ESB.  When ESB returns to public events, the President and Vice-President would be invited to attend.

Should you wish to nominate a Friend or Member of ESB, please email the Charity Secretary, Carolanne Leary, at or, alternatively, write to her at the below address with details of the nominee.

English Speaking Board (International) Ltd
9 Hattersley Court,
Burscough Road,
L39 2AY

Nominations are required to reach Carolanne by Monday, 14th March. Voting will take place between the 21st and 28th March.

ESB is currently in the run up to its 70th anniversary next year and the organisation is planning a number of anniversary celebratory events, as well as promoting its 70/70 campaign, which aims to find and financially support, 70 centres where their learners, children, young people or community members face disadvantage and would be supported in their aspirations if they could achieve an ESB qualification.


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