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13.01.2021
IN MEMORIAM
Clarissa STAREY
Clarissa STAREY, International Red Cross Icon Clarissa Starey, Australian born from an old British family with decades-long Red Cross career passed away in Geneva, Switzerland on January 7th 2021. She was 91. A true humanitarian devoted to the Red Cross principles, Clarissa was a legend in her own rights: a very hard working lady, unstoppable in her ambition to do good and help others, she was also a well known Bon-vivant-style person who used to enjoy playing tennis twice a week and then indulging herself - always with friends - over a juicy steak and glass of Red wine at her beloved Cafe de Paris on Rue du Mont-Blanc in Geneva. Or with a bowl of Mousse De Chocolate on the table at the restaurant in Hotel Intercontinental, only a few yards away from her Swiss chalet where she lived for long years. Clarissa was a generous person who loved to know people and help everybody who needed her attention. Her camaraderie was beyond any border. Compassionate and always optimistic, her laughter could be heard from the most distant corner in the long IFRC corridors of the old Federation building. Together with Sir George Reid, former IFRC Public Affairs Director and later Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, and with Alain Modoux, former ICRC Director of Communications, Clarissa was the “engine” of the International Red Cross Film Festival in Varna, Bulgaria, hosted by the Bulgarian Red Cross and ran by its equally legendary Festival Director Alexander (Sasha) Marinov. Clarissa and her colleagues Sue Pavan, Jette Soerensen, Danny and Teo used to work day and night during the Festival, producing the Daily Bulletin and film reviews. Clarissa was so popular in Sofia, that a well known colleague invited her to the wedding of his son as a Special guest and The Best Woman. During the difficult years in Eastern Europe in late -70-ies and early -80-ies Clarissa had a small private fund for buying medicines in Geneva and sending them discreetly to Bulgaria for friends in need. A Geneva legend goes that City authorities and developers were not able to convince Clarissa to give up her small Chalet with a carefully kept garden in exchange for another house. The same myth goes that Clarissa, being a very “stubborn soldier” used a special delaying tactics telling the authorities she has planted a lot of new flower bulbs in her garden and “nobody except God” can remove her until the new flowers grow. And they did: in almost 30 years in her garden... Clarissa was an epoch in the long Red Cross history. She will be missed by her many friends - in Bulgaria, In her native Australia and elsewhere.

Rest in pease, dear Clarissa.