Bid to honour ‘much-loved’ librarian with memorial garden

Ali Hopkins, the manager of Halesworth library has been described as “very humble” and “much loved”

Ali Hopkins, the manager of Halesworth library has been described as “very humble” and “much loved” by volunteers and staff of the library. Picture: Contributed by Halesworth Library - Credit: Archant

A much-loved librarian is to be honoured with a memorial garden, with plans announced on the first anniversary of her death.

Ali Hopkins lost her battle with cancer on January 7, 2019, having worked in libraries in Suffolk since 1980.

Now, library staff, volunteers and the Friends of Halesworth Library are raising money to build a lasting memorial to the grandmother.

The library garden will be redesigned to incorporate her favourite plants, while also making the garden more accessible for everyone.

A GoldenGiving fundraising page has been set up in a bid to raise £7,500 to build a "pleasant oasis where visitors can sit and relax or read a book," while also reflecting her love of bold colours.

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Bruce Leeke, CEO of Suffolk Libraries, said: "Ali was a very popular and dedicated library manager who was well known and loved at the library and in the local community. She is still missed by everyone who knew her.

"Ali saw libraries as a means for people to reach their potential.

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"She really understood that literacy was the gateway for people to access better opportunities and she continually strived to offer all that she could for the people of Halesworth through the library. Ali had recently become a 'nanna' and absolutely adored her dogs.

"She was a people person through and through and there's nothing she wouldn't do for others. She was an inspiration to her team, her customers and the wider community."

The 55-year-old, who was born and raised in Lowestoft, began her career with the Suffolk Library Service in Lowestoft in 1980, aged 17, before moving to Halesworth.

From hand-picking the book selections to planning the layout of the building and its contents, Mrs Hopkins was hailed as instrumental in the opening of the new Halesworth library in 1996.

Paying tribute to Mrs Hopkins last year, Alison Britton, chair of the trustees of the Friends of Halesworth Library, said: "She was rightly considered to be one of the best library managers in Suffolk.

"Ali always gave help and friendship to all her colleagues, acting as formal and informal mentor or buddy to many across the library service."

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