In February 2017 we lost Elisabeth “Betty” Willett, a Lifetime BIVR Member and palantypist. After a lifetime as a verbatim reporter in Hansard and court, Betty was one of the first Speech-to-Text Reporters, an aide to deaf or hard-of-hearing people in the UK as well as being a long-time member of the Institute’s Council.

Council decided to inaugurate the Betty Willett Award for outstanding achievement in the profession and asked the membership to nominate who they thought worthy of this accolade. To that end, Claire Hill received the inaugural award in 2018.

This is what her nominating colleague had to say:

"I wanted to write a detailed appreciation that fully does Claire justice, but I'll just note a few of the reasons that spring to mind about Claire who has:

  • the most varied skill set of any reporter I know which has ensured that she is able to work in virtually any arena that the profession serves;
  • is constantly striving to improve her knowledge and skills and she is fearless in taking on new tech challenges;
  • is passionate about providing her clients with the highest level of service;
  • is extremely generous in sharing her knowledge and expertise at a personal level and she has always been keen to participate and give her time and effort to the wider profession over the years despite a very busy schedule;
  • manages admirably to balance her kindness and sensibility with well-honed business acumen in a challenging market!”

To add to that, BIVR Council was aware of the work Claire does, how highly thought of she is by her peers, clients and organisations (as can be seen on social media). We mustn't forget the fact that Claire single-handedly organised and hosted the City & Guilds course for current Speech-to-Text Reporters as well as those who were interested in maybe becoming an STTR. Added into all of that goes the fact that Claire is the first (and only, so far) to receive 100% on the QRR (Qualified Realtime Reporter) exam.

Claire couldn’t attend the AGM to receive the award, so our then President, Leah Willersdorf presented it about a month later. Here’s what she had to say upon receiving it:

“Thank you very much for this award. It’s a real honour to be recognised by one’s peers, and knowing the high regard in which we all held Betty, it’s particularly gratifying to receive an award in her name. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there today to receive it in person.

I’ve always tried to keep abreast of any new developments in reporting, whether that be new software, speech-to-text or remote working, and I always try to add value whenever I attend a job, and hopefully make the clients believe that a live stenographer, whether on-site or remote, is always the best option.

I’ve been really impressed with the BIVR in the last few years, I think you’re revitalising a profession that suffers from a real image problem in the wider world, so thank you for your hard work and please keep it up, as we all benefit.

I’d also like to thank all my co-workers over the years, whether fellow reporters, editors or captioners, because the best results are achieved when we work together in pursuit of the same goals.

I look forward to having the award in my hand, and it will have pride of place in my home!

Thank you again.


Roll of Honour

2017 – awarded posthumously to Betty Willett via her daughter, Amanda.
2018 – awarded to Claire Hill