Dear Colleague,

Please find a message from Sir Roger Fry, COBIS Chairman from 1996-2011 and now COBIS Honorary President on the passing of Sybil Melchers MBE, a COBIS Honorary Member. 

Sybil Melchers MBE

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the passing of one of COBISEC’s (COBIS) founders.

Sybil Melchers MBE, was a resident in Brussels in 1981 when COBISEC was founded by Sir Dick Pantlin, its first Chairman, together with a small group of Heads and Governors of British schools in Europe. Sybil was, from the very first moment his assistant and remained in the role until she and her husband Chris moved back to their house in Hythe, Kent in 1988.

From that year her relationship with COBISEC was formalised as Honorary Secretary, and she managed the association’s business from her home. In 1992 the work had increased and she took on an assistant, Anne Fehr, and set up the COBISEC office in a studio apartment in the grounds of her house. This arrangement continued for eleven years until 2003 when, for the first time the association was able to afford a part time General Secretary and the office moved to Oxfordshire where he lived.

Sybil gave the association twenty two years of first class voluntary service and an office for fifteen years.  During that time she managed the annual London Conference, the paperwork for committee meetings, information for prospective members and the application process, and for several years the publication of an annual directory.

It is difficult to imagine now, how all this was possible with only the selfless voluntary contribution of one dedicated person, who also supported the Chairman and the Committee enthusiastically. COBIS would not have been able to exist and develop without her. It is fitting that HM The Queen honoured her with the Membership of The Order of the British Empire for her services to British International  Schools.

We extend our sympathy and condolences to her bereaved husband, Chris, and their family.



Colin Bell
Council of British International Schools
St Mary's University 
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, TW1 4SX
(t) +44 208 240 4376 

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