Catherine Mary Bowles-Herman

March  3rd, 1949 April  12th, 2024
Catherine Mary Bowles-Herman

The waves smash so loudly that I can wail and no-one hears me. It is my safe place. But, now, here and completely alone – all you old ghosts visit me and play in this endless space. You bring me your gifts. I am home.


Catherine Mary Bowles-Herman, a distinguished actor, writer, and deviser, passed away peacefully on April 12, 2024. Born in Norfolk, England, Catherine's life was a vibrant tapestry of artistic achievements, friendship, and personal discovery.

Catherine’s early years in 1950s Gorleston, Norfolk, and the joyful times spent on her family’s farm in Wymondham deeply influenced her work. These formative experiences nurtured her love for storytelling, which became a central theme in her plays and performances. She graduated from Sussex University in 1971 with an honours degree in English and embarked on a diverse career, initially as a teacher while raising her son, Niall, as a single parent.

She later transitioned into healthcare, working at the Health Education Authority. After retiring from full-time work in 2011, Cathy became a non-executive member of the Haringey Primary Care Trust, where she served as deputy director from 2012, steering the changes to the organization of community health services in Haringey. Her dedication to community service extended to her role as a director of Collage Arts from 2004 to 2007, and she was instrumental in establishing the Bowes Park Community Association to improve the local environment and facilities.

In retirement, Catherine pursued her long-held ambition to write and act. She enrolled in an acting foundation course at City Lit College and joined the RADA Elders company in 2017. Her first play, "Bus," was performed as a reading in 2018 at the Horse and Stables Theatre. She worked with a women’s group at the Arcola Theatre and performed at the Venice Biennale, also collaborating on several short films.

Diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in 2020, Catherine continued to write with courage and determination. In 2021, she performed the lead role in her play "Dulcie and Walter" as part of the fEAST Theatre's 10th anniversary tour. She completed her final play, "On the Edge," in 2022.

In her personal life, Cathy was a proud mother to her son Niall and a fantastic friend who filled the lives of those around her with love, fun, and support through periods of crisis. She maintained strong family ties with her brothers and their families in Norfolk, enjoying her role as an aunt to many nieces and nephews. Throughout her illness, she was supported by her partner, John, and she is sadly missed by many people.



Memory wall

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June 9, 2024
Update: Mum's website:
Added, to this site, the "funny video".
May 31, 2024
I first met Cathy when she was part of my interview panel for a job in the newly forming NHS organisations created by the Lansley reforms in 2012 – Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (or CCG). Cathy was a lay member on the Board with responsibility for things like patient engagement and equalities. I was relatively young and unconfident and couldn’t believe my luck that this seriously impressive, wise and kind woman took me under her wing and acted as my unofficial mentor and champion over the 8 years or so she was at the CCG.

No one has had a bigger impact on my working life than Cathy - I forever find myself thinking 'what would Cathy do/say here?'. She taught me so many things and gave me so much confidence - I honestly don't know what I would have done without her on so many occasions! I was often in awe of the way she did things - chaired meetings, built relationships, presented, advised, guided and steered so many people, but always in a way that empowered them and made their contribution feel valued (and even made them think that the plan she had steered them towards was their idea!). She also facilitated many a public meeting in Haringey with residents and patients in a way that I have never seen before or since! Under Cathy’s leadership, gone were the times of angry residents shouting at public sector officials in open meetings! She had a magic touch that helped connect officials to the people we were there to serve, and made sure all the people who came to our meetings left feeling heard, even if they didn’t always get the result that they wanted.

In all my working life, I'm yet to meet anyone quite like Cathy – the impact she has had on me is definitely something that will stay with me for life. I hope she knew this. I hope I told her enough over the years. The world is definitely a much poorer place without her in it.

P.S. Attached are a couple of photos I found of Cathy from our CCG days. One is of Cathy and Sarah Timms, another former CCG board member, at our Christmas party in 2015. The other is of Cathy and other Board colleagues at the send off for our former CEO.
Caroline Rowe
May 20, 2024
Hello all
This is the memorial section where thoughts, memories and pics can be shared.


Donations can be made to the North London Hospice, which treated mum  with such care and compassion at the end of her life:

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