Family & Education

Family Background

Ann’s father, George Lyttleton OBE was Managing Director of the family clothing firm The Utilus Coat Company Limited. Her mother, Perle was the eldest daughter of Samuel and Sophie Lyons. Samuel Henry Lyons was a penniless Polish immigrant who came to the United Kingdom in 1902 and worked as a tailor with his Lithuanian wife Sophie who was an expert buttonhole hand. From these small beginnings he built the multi-store men’s clothing chain, Alexandre Ltd that eventually became a part of the John Collier/United Draperies empire. Ann’s brother, Trevor Lyttleton MBE (b. 1936) is a Solicitor specializing in Mental Capacity Act and Court of Protection matters and is on the Deputy’s Panel of the Court of Protection. Trevor founded the nationwide charity Contact the Elderly.

Ann’s great-grandfather, George Hollander lived in Wales where her paternal grandmother Gertrude Lubelski was born. He gave Penny Readings to the Welsh miners and his talent for dramatic story-telling was obviously passed down through Gertie to her granddaughter Ann.


Ann started her education at the age of five at Allerton High School in Leeds where she started piano lessons with Dame Fanny Waterman. From 1947-1949 she was a boarder at Overstone School, Northampton. Her piano teacher was the legendary Vera Lasker, a close friend and associate of Gustav Holst. In 1950/51 she attended Le Collège Féminin de Bouffémont in Paris where apart from becoming proficient in French, she was photographed for ‘Picture Post’ in the studio with the great French couturier, Jacques Fath, met Nancy Mitford and was chosen by Maurice Chevalier to swim in the pool scene featuring him and his co-star Sophie Desmarets in the film “Ma Pomme” (1951).

On her return to the UK, Ann did the year’s course at the Yorkshire Ladies Secretarial College.

Higher Education

Although her teachers at Overstone School recommended Ann as a candidate for A levels and a university education, her misguided uncle, when consulted by Ann’s parents, decreed she should not become a ‘bluestocking’ so reluctantly she had to leave school aged 16.   Determined to continue her studies on her own, Ann successfully took A level French, Italian and Spanish in the early 1960’s, studying by correspondence course at home, surrounded by her three young children.

University Of Durham

At the age of 76, to her great delight, Ann was offered and accepted a Holgate Fellowship at Grey College, University of Durham for the Easter Term 2010.

Ann’s Fellowship at Grey College was renewed in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and continues.

Marriages and Children

In December 1952 at the age of 19, Ann married Neville Ziff and had three children, Jan (b. 1953) Trisha (b. 1956) and Max (b. 1958).

Jan ZiffJan Ziff is an actress/voiceover artist and the voice of Heckerty, Ann’s famous zany witch, beloved by children all over the world on the ‘Love from Heckerty’ App. Download ‘Meet Heckerty’ from

Today Jan’s focus is consulting as well as technology; she writes, produces and hosts Sound*Bytes, an award winning, daily computer radio show heard nationally on CBS News already in its twentieth year of continuous broadcast. Now based in Phoenix, Arizona, Jan specializes in social media and lends her considerable expertise to helping small companies and entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Trisha ZiffTrisha Ziff is a curator of photography and documentary film maker whose films focus on the photographic image. A Guggenheim scholar, her exhibitions have been seen at major international museums including: Victoria & Albert Museum, London; California Museum of Photography, international Center for Photography New York and Centro de la Imagen Mexico City. In Film, Trisha Ziff directed Chevolution, 2008 Magnolia Films, Red Envelope and Fortissimo Films. Her film ‘La Maleta Mexicana’, (The Mexican Suitcase) has won international acclaim, showing at major film festivals all over the world. An accomplished lecturer, Trisha travels extensively. ‘The Mexican Suitcase’ is the story of the recovery of images from the Spanish Civil War, which she was personally involved in securing in Mexico ­ negatives by Robert Capa, Chim and Gerda Taro Trisha Ziff lives in Mexico City with her son Julio Meyer, an outstanding young debater, representing Mexico at international debating events.

Max ZiffMax Ziff is a Managing Director and Head of Financial Advisory Services UK at Houlihan Lokey.

He lives in Switzerland with his wife, Marianna, daughter Stephanie (b. 2006) and step-daughter Anna (b. 1996). Max has three children from his first marriage Alexandra (b. 1985) Joanna (b. 1987) and Ben (b. 1990)

Ann’s marriage to Neville was dissolved in 1964. Whilst waiting for her divorce to be finalised, Ann created her unique musical storytelling technique so that she could take her children with her to concerts in Leeds without them getting fidgety and bored.

Ann married the distinguished conductor/pianist Ezra Rachlin on May 25, 1969. She has one step-son, Michael Rachlin who lives in Tallahassee, Florida.