A Memorial Service for Paresh Raval has been arranged for Friday 11 October at 1pm in St Salvator’s Chapel.
Paresh was founder and manager of the Alternative Format Suite (AFS) in Student Services and dedicated his career to championing the rights of print-disabled students, and to providing them with access to reading material in formats most suitable to them. He was determined that the University should not only meet this need but should set the highest possible standards in doing so. This was an ambition which required excellence and humility, leadership and collaboration, and the momentum of an army of inspired volunteers. Paresh brought all of these gifts, and used them to transform the reading experiences of print-disabled readers all over the world.
Paresh joined Student Services in November 2004 and built the AFS from scratch, assembling soundproof booths, recruiting volunteers from across the local community, and working with colleagues across Schools and departments to resolve any barriers for the print disabled. Those who benefited from his help were blind, visually impaired and dyslexic students, as well as those with medical conditions that impaired their ability to access printed material.
His dedication cannot be overestimated, given that the process of creating just one talking book can take up to one month. However, Paresh was very clear that the benefits are immeasurable, and independent learners in St Andrews and beyond now benefit from the principles and services he established. In terms of making St Andrews a beacon of inclusivity, Paresh has helped show us the way. By making words readable with eyes, ears and fingers he has helped ensure education can include everyone.
Colleagues will know Paresh was a kind, gentle and patient person. Those in Student Services fondly remember him as someone who enjoyed injecting a good pun or a Monty Python quote into a meeting and sharing his love of travel over coffee and cake, whilst taking every opportunity to help others.
All are welcome to the Memorial Service for Paresh on Friday 11 October at 1pm in St Salvator’s Chapel, which will be followed by a reception in Lower College Hall.