Tributes to Lewes social and environmental champion

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Liz Mandeville, one of Lewes's social and environmental heroes, has died aged 78 from Alzheimer's disease. Liz was a founder member of the relaunch of the Headstrong Club in 1987.

She was active as a volunteer in many spheres locally including the homeless charity Homelink, the social enterprise Common Cause and renewable energy company Ovesco. She was for many years Church Warden at St. Anne's Church, Western Road. The funeral will be held at St. Anne's Church at 11am on Tuesday August 15th.

Born in 1945, Liz decided on a career in social anthropology, gaining a PhD at Sussex University. In 1968 with her first husband Neil Warren she travelled to Uganda where she studied the conditions faced by single mothers. In 1974 she travelled with Neil and two young children to Papua New Guinea where she worked for two years.

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After returning to the UK, Liz retrained in management information and technology. She gained a Masters degree and worked in Brighton for twenty years, while teaching social studies at the Open University.

Dr Elizabeth MandevilleDr Elizabeth Mandeville
Dr Elizabeth Mandeville

In 1990 she married biologist Mike Jones. Mike says of her: 'I was very lucky to be associated with Liz for over 40 years, we had a wonderful time together. I learned early in life never to volunteer but Liz never learned that lesson, she did the opposite. It was a perfect balance.'

Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (Ovesco) was formed in 2007 by members of the Transition Town Lewes energy group, and Liz was a founder director of the company. In 2011 Ovesco launched the UK's first community-financed solar power station on the roof of Harveys depot in Daveys Lane, for which Liz wrote the prospectus and share offer, and spoke convincingly at the launch at Lewes Town Hall.

Chris Rowland, managing director of Ovesco, says: 'Liz was an important member of the board of directors. She was never afraid to ask difficult questions! She was passionate about climate change and I remember her speaking with tears in her eyes about the impact on future generations.'

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A member of the Labour Party for most of her life, Liz was asked to leave due to her views on voting which the local party disagreed with. She thought people should vote tactically if necessary, saying: 'Voting is instrumental not sacramental.'

Among Liz's writing achievements are a novel, 'Telling Tales', a reminiscence, 'New Guinea Diary', and a great many articles for technical journals and brochures. She was an avid supporter of the Lewes Railway Land Trust and the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

She is survived by her husband Mike, her daughter Abigail and her two sons Peter and Roderick.