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Who was Tony Arnold?

Tony Arnold (1923-1996) was the longest-serving Secretary of the Institute. He served for three decades and knew nine of the 12 founder members who started the Institute in 1930. He held the position of Secretary for a record 23 years until ill health forced him to retire in 1979 aged 56. To a generation of members, Tony Arnold was synonymous with the Institute.

Tony was born on 3 January 1923. He worked initially for Deloitte, Plendar, Griffiths & Co and joined the RAF during the Second World War. After the war, whilst working for a water board, Tony passed the Chartered Institute of Secretaries examinations. In 1950 he saw an advertisement for an Assistant to the Institute's Secretary, Gilbert Burr, and successfully applied. The Institute was then at Clifford's Inn, had 1,800 members and an income of £6,500.

Tony succeeded Gilbert Burr upon his retirement in 1957 and helped George Whillans to found the London Branch (pre-dated only by Manchester) and he remained its Honorary Secretary until he retired. Tony later gave valuable advice in the formation of several branches. In 1967 he helped London Branch to organise the first residential conference at Trinity College, Cambridge. This conference has subsequently been held every year as an Institute conference.

Tony wanted to qualify as a member of the Institute, but as he dealt with all of the examination arrangements, including the vetting of draft question papers, he could hardly examine himself! Council therefore elected him a special Fellow in 1968.

In 1970 Tony and his small staff were asked to take over the organisation of the Autumn Residential Conference, started at Keele University by the northern branches in 1968. The Institute's move to 3 Grosvenor Crescent, London SW1 after 30 years at Clifford's Inn, went smoothly thanks to Tony's planning.

Tony's health, never robust, deteriorated in 1979 and he reluctantly retired. He spent a large part of his retirement persuing his love of languages, and spoke French, German, Italian and Spanish; and in later years was also learning Welsh. Tony passed away in 1996.


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