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Language academic who earned a French ‘knighthood’ is mourned
12:00pm Saturday 19th January 2013 in News
FAMILY and friends have been saddened to hear news of the death of a St Helens man who carved out an international career.
Bernard Swift was born in Sutton in 1937 and attended school at St Anne’s, now St Anne and Blessed Dominic.
After studying at West Park Catholic Grammar School, he went on to Manchester University to study French.
After achieving an honours degree, he went on to complete a PhD. He then lectured at several universities, including Geneva, Aberdeen, Regina, McMaster and Bordeaux, but spent most of his career with the department of French at Stirling University, where he became head of department.
He also spent a number of years as chief examiner of sixth year French studies in Scotland.
Bernard was involved in the work of the Franco-Scottish Society and was an authority on French novelist Francois Mauriac.
In 1994, in recognition of his contribution to the study, understanding and dissemination of French culture, the French Government awarded him the title ‘Chevalier’, the French equivalent of a knighthood. He then became a member of L’Ordre des Palmes Academiques.
His passions were education, French literature, photography, gardening and his family.
After many years of poor health, Bernard died in hospital in Larbert.
He leaves a wife, two sons and a daughter – all academics in their own right – and 10 grandchildren aged three to 18.