Written by Barclay Rae, SDI Consultant & Auditor
With great sadness, we recently heard of the passing of Rebecca (Becky/Becks) Beach. Rebecca was a popular member of our ITSM community, making many friends across the industry with her positivity, creativity, and humour.
Her death was not completely unexpected – she had terminal cancer – but still a dreadful shock and cruel loss to her family, friends and colleagues. She has left us way, way too early and young – leaving behind a young family. By all accounts, she faced and dealt with her illness with resilience, resistance, and of course her memorable sense of humour.
She leaves behind a shining affirmation of life, which she lived and embraced with an energy that touched a wide variety of people – everyone she met. She didn’t use the nickname (on Social media too) ‘Gobbymidget’ for no good reason.
This was clearly shown at her memorial ‘celebration of life’, held after her funeral, and attended by approximately 150 people. This represented the scale of her friendships, as well as the style and manner of her life and interests.
The event was clearly a positive celebration of a life well lived, with many young people, children and different groups of people present, plus music, dancing and celebrations more akin to a wedding party. There were poems and eulogies and stories from many close friends as well as family, including her daughter Ella, husband Martyn and her mother and sisters, all of whom are clearly devastated at her loss. All the stories came back to the fact that Becky had been such a positive light in their lives.
She was human of course and we heard some colourful tales of revelry, fun nights, drinking and great companionship, often in adversity. We also heard about her practical interests in gardening, environmental issues, clothes-making, cooking, dancing, music and more. I remember once mentioning to her that I wasn’t particularly keen on aubergines, whereupon she launched into a passionate sales pitch about various great ways to cook them and how good that was, and how could I possibly not like them..? (I do now..).
Like a breath of fresh air, with a positive energy that really made a mark on us and the wider ITSM world
Becky certainly made her mark, albeit briefly, in the ITSM and Service Desk world. I first met her in 2012, the morning after she had just won the SDI Service Professional of the Year award (pictured). I was part of a podcast with some crusty old types like myself (Stephen Mann, James Finister, Chris Matchett and Pat Bolger), who were at the conference and awards event and using the opportunity to interview people from the industry. Cleary hungover, Becky interviewed like a breath of fresh air, with a positive energy that really made a mark on us and the wider ITSM world who listened in. Usually, when people win awards, they are there to talk about themselves, whereas she made a lasting imprint by talking about her daughter, Ella, and how her ambition in work was completely driven by a desire to do the best for her. She also wanted to set an example for Ella by doing the best she could and by being the best Service Desk Manager that she could be.
In the following years she did various jobs in our industry, as she was easy to work with as well as bright and capable. People enjoyed working with her, as it was fun and uncomplicated, as well as productive. She understood the value of community and worked with BCS and itSMF as well as for ITSM Review. Rebecca worked directly with me for a couple of years in a marketing and consultancy support role – it wasn’t always the most thrilling of work, but she did it really well and it was always fun. This included a large project to re-write a while series of vendor ITIL-based books, that needed updating and modernising. She didn’t like a lot of the content, but did relish the opportunity to re-write and often quite brutally hack the text with a new and fresh approach…
I attended the memorial celebration with one of Becky’s industry friends Karen Brusch, itSMF UK chair (and her husband). Karen will present an award of gratitude for Becky at the itSMF UK conference on 13th November. I am honoured to have been asked by Martyn and Ella Beach to accept this on their behalf on the day. I hope you can join us in person – or in spirit – to toast Rebecca’s memory and wish Martyn, Ella and Ethan all the best for the future. They will never forget her – Rebecca was a beacon of light and I am sure that we will also do the same.