Farewell to St Albans court stalwart Norah

THE wheels of justice ground to a halt last week when Luton Crown Court said farewell to shorthand writer Norah Bailey.

Norah, 88, a widow who lived in St Albans, was a familiar face at the crown court where she had worked until January this year when ill health forced her to retire.

Staff at the Bedfordshire court, including shorthand writers, ushers, clerks as well as barristers and even some judges attended the funeral of Norah who died two weeks ago.

Shorthand writers play an integral part in recording court proceedings and making available transcripts of hearings and Norah sat in court for cases ranging from thefts and burglaries to robberies, murder and gangland slayings.

She was born in Dundee in 1922 and with the outbreak of war joined the WRAF as a signals operator at the age of just 17. During the war she was based in England and Northern Ireland and was an expert in Morse Code.

Norah got married in Dundee to Harry Bailey, a soldier who served in the war. Harry later joined the civil service moving the family, including Norah and their three children, Joanne, Graham and Malcolm, to St Albans in 1972.

Norah always engendered complete loyalty from her team. Colleague Margaret Malone said “She had integrity, dignity and a wonderful sense of humour. She wouldn’t think twice about giving someone a ticking off, but we loved her. She was a special lady and one of a kind.”