It is a characteristic of university fund-raising work that the successes are most often a product
of teamwork between academics and professional fundraisers. The assignment of Anthony Tootal
to the Fitzwilliam Museum in his early years in the Development Office was an inspired act that gave
rise to an extraordinarily successful team. Anthony’s love of the arts found a natural outlet in the
great treasures of that place, and he fully understood that a Museum could be fun. For the 150th
Anniversary of the Museum’s Foundation, a party was thrown that was pure Anthony. As the
Director tells it, the galleries filled with people, and with light and – of course – with music. All
this was Anthony’s element – and Anthony in his element.
Helping Cambridge to help itself
But let us step back for a moment and consider the context when Anthony joined the Development
Office in January 1995. In the Development Office’s first brochure a few years earlier, just six
Departments – out of some hundred or so –sought funds. Few saw a role for philanthropy. Seeking
funds was a distraction at best, and distasteful or plain unpleasant at worst. That has changed, and
today virtually every Department and Faculty and Centre in the University has projects and ambitions
on which it works, or hopes to work, with CUDO. Anthony Tootal was one of the handful of people
who set that transformation in motion.
He was brilliant. Even the most introverted and mistrustful could be weaned from imagining fund-raising
as a grubby pursuit when Anthony was its embodiment. His intelligence and decency, and above all his
charm, helped make development respectable at Cambridge. Anthony helped Cambridge to help itself.
As a result, he has left his mark on important parts of the University, and on some of the University's
key relationships. The gallery refurbishments and, in particular, the Courtyard Development at the
Fitzwilliam were a matter of great pleasure and pride to Anthony. His legal training made him the
ideal person to work with the executors of the exceptional legacy of Dr Herchel Smith – and I’ve
heard him speak with quiet satisfaction as the Herchel Smith chairs have been filled one by one.
In the right job
As Acting and Deputy Director of the Development Office, Anthony worked with top-level donors
and the most important trusts and foundations. The stewardship of those relationships was safe in his
hands. He was such a genial man, so easy to speak to, so easy to like and grow fond of, that everyone
enjoyed their conversations with him. I have been touched by the messages I have received from
donors sharing their sadness at his death: I dare say Anthony too would be touched, but also pleased
and amused, because surely the highest accomplishment of a fund-raiser, and the greatest test of
character, is to be loved by people even as you are asking them for money!
I believe Anthony found exactly the right job. In the early days when the call for fund-raising fell
largely on deaf ears, he remained an unshakable optimist, never discouraged. He enjoyed ‘working
the room’. His memory was encyclopaedic - for people and for the links between them, and
between them and Cambridge. That talent for remembering was an asset which he exploited: not
‘ruthlessly’ – that is the last word that could be used about Anthony – but creatively and joyfully.
He knew, it seemed, absolutely everyone: the movers and shakers of town and gown (and the
people who caused them to move and shake, and the names of their children and their pets). All
this he knew and remembered because he took such a great pleasure in people; he loved gossip;
and he had a great gift for understanding what really mattered to people.
He also loved grand events, and particularly loved a crisis – and so was in his element when the
two combined. In 1999 the opportunity to use St James’s Palace dropped into his lap with one
month’s notice. Anthony rose to the occasion in a flash, creating a splendid gathering from nothing.
The annual admission of donors to the Guild of Benefactors was largely shaped by him, and he
carefully planned the ceremony each year with the events team – even to the extent of copying the
menu in his own kitchen to test which wines went best with the quails’ eggs.
The star of the office
Anthony’s relationship to the staff of the Development Office had a family feel. It was as if he were
everyone’s uncle. The staff sought his advice, not as a line manager but as a wise person who was
always, sometimes infuriatingly, right (and, of course, he loved to be asked things). In recent weeks,
one member of the team has said that when his ill health took him away from the office, “we all felt we
had to grow up – he wasn’t there to ask any more”.
But like the best of uncles, Anthony wasn’t just a source of wisdom and advice – he was fun. He was
special. He was the star turn in the office, compèring quizzes in his polka-dot bow-tie; taking immense
pride in his elegant and impossibly uncomfortable Morgan, immaculate in British Racing Green. He was
entirely at home in an office which, each Friday, would decree a certain theme of dress: tartan for
St Andrew’s Day, animal-print for summer. One must also note that in certain matters he was
entirely at sea and wholly dependent upon others: he was not the world’s greatest administrator,
for example, and I’m told he tended to respond to the challenges of the technological revolution
with “a helpless bleating noise”.
On the other hand, he took any opportunity to sing, in his rich tenor voice – he was a choral scholar
at this College, and later a leading member of Cambridge Voices, who join us in the Chapel today.
When the Registrary was arranging the Registrars’ Conference in Cambridge and needed to lay on
some entertainment, one phone call to Anthony produced eighteen singers, including him, who sang
brilliantly for their supper. When there was no formal concert to be sung, he sang anyway – if you
worked in the Development Office and it was your birthday you were guaranteed a round of
‘Happy Birthday’ kick-started by Anthony – and at this time of year Trumpington Street would
echo to a development team press-ganged into impromptu Christmas carols.
I began by saying that Anthony would give himself no credit for the transformation of the
Fitzwilliam’s image, and the intricacies of teamwork make that understandable: no one person
could or should take sole credit for such a thing. But I don’t think Anthony quite understood
or believed, either, how much he was loved within this community. It is my hope that in these
last few months – when he has constantly been in our thoughts and our hearts, and a steady
stream of friends and colleagues have quietly made their way to Clarendon Street – he came
to see the enormous affection so many had for him. Cambridge has lost an effortless ambassador
and we have lost a friend: but Anthony’s contribution to Cambridge, and to our lives, will endure.