Dora Nash RIP - Obituary

Dora Nash, known to fans of Faith’s crossword as ‘Aurora Borealis’, has died at the age of 66. She was a member of the Faith Movement from its earliest days and in the 1980s was the magazine’s Book Reviews Editor.

Born in Preston, Lancashire, Dora won an academic Exhibition at seventeen to read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge where she was involved in Catholic student activities and was Secretary of the newly-founded pro-life group; she was also Captain of the university women’s cricket team. She met her future husband Andrew there, and they married in 1978.

Dora became a Religious Education teacher, including many years as Head of Department at the Oratory School, near Reading, founded by St John Henry Newman. She introduced both a new Catholic GCSE in Religious Studies (which she had developed and for which she was the Principal Examiner) and A Level Theology and Ethics. She ran pilgrimage days for the boys to places of historic Catholic interest and wrote a coursebook on Newman for them, Out of the Shadows, which was later published. As Head of Sixth Form, she guided pupils through their university application process, and she also ran the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the Community Service programme. When she retired from classroom teaching in 2011, she became the school’s Archivist and Alumni Officer, editing a magazine and organising events for Old Boys.

In the 1990s while teaching Dora studied for a part-time Advanced Diploma in Education at the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham and also become a Tutor there for trainee teachers, writing three coursebooks for them. She became widely known for her two sacramental preparation books for children: Confirmed in the Faith which has recently had a major reprint; and her book for First Communion and Confession Jesus Comes to Me which is a best-seller, being used by thousands of children over the years. She was a speaker on this subject at the National Eucharistic Congress held in Liverpool in 2018.

Dora loved family life with Andrew and their four children. She was energetic and lively, creating a warm and welcoming home with an atmosphere of humour and fun. There were family pantomimes, camping and hill-walking holidays, and in more recent years trips with Andrew to Italy. When grandchildren arrived, she revelled in being a grandmother. In her local parish she was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Catholic grandparents group.

A new role came in 2019 when she was asked by Shalom World TV to write the script for a documentary on St John Henry Newman; and this year Shalom commissioned her to write the scripts for a series on the Forty Martyrs. The programmes can be seen on the Shalom World website.

Dora had been fighting cancer for the past eight years, and after many treatments, which she endured stoically, she died in hospital on 12th September. Andrew and her two daughters were with her, along with a priest friend. She was able to join in the prayers of the Last Rites and died peacefully as they ended.

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