My sister Ingrid Maggs, who has died aged 71, arranged cultural visits that helped refugees and asylum seekers get to know the country where they hoped to settle. She became, in retirement, a volunteer at the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants in north London, where, after teaching English for a term, she said to the project manager, Andy Ruiz Palma: “I want to do more. Trips and outings – enrichment.” Her new role was cast, that of enrichment officer. Ingrid had a love-hate relationship with the title, but absolutely loved the role and defined and redefined it regularly.
Her trips included visits to the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, the Quadrangle arts centre in Kent, and many other places of interest, a favourite destination being Madame Tussauds.
Andy Ruiz Palma recalls: “When Ingrid joined as a volunteer, she had such a natural way of communicating with everybody at every level of the centre, regardless of their position, and managed to take the concept of the volunteer role to new heights, carrying ideas and plans through from start to finish with such a natural flair.”
Ingrid was born in Kenya to Swedish parents, Hans and Viveka Stjernsward, who were farming in the Rift Valley. She spent her childhood in Africa and was educated there. Then she undertook a secretarial course in Oxford and went on to have a successful career in television, working as a researcher and producer for both the BBC and ITV. Her political sympathies were on the left, but she had friends from every walk of life.
During this time she met her future husband, Charles, at the house of the writer Elspeth Huxley, an old friend from Kenya days. Together they created a beautiful home and garden in Islington, north London, and brought up their daughter, Lucy. Ingrid particularly loved flowers and plants and opened her garden as part of the National Gardens Scheme. It was always a great event, with tea and cakes, and attracted many admiring visitors.
She had a creative flair for clothes and fashion, for many years running a not-for-profit venture, The Clothes Shed, selling secondhand designer clothes in her living room.
She is survived by Charles and Lucy; her granddaughter, Stella; and sisters, Louise and me.
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