Elizabeth Southall 1920-2006
Dec 1, 2006
Liz Southall, a founder member of the Chesham & Amersham Green Party, sadly passed away towards the end of 2006. Phil Folly - another founder member - offers these fond reflections on her life:
Liz was born in Dublin to a high ranking United States diplomat and an Irish mother and spent most of her early life in Ireland and the United States. While in Canada during the war she met an RAF officer with whom she fell in love and the couple got married. After moving to and from RAF bases around the world they finally arrived at RAF Halton, Wendover, with their three children - two boys and a girl - and eventual settled in Chesham. After the war Liz became a staunch and active socialist: a one-time supporter of the Communist Party, and ever a seeker of justice and peace.
She became a dedicated supporter of CND and the women at Greenham Common. On one memorable occasion, a cold and snowy early morning, I waved off my wife Kate and several other women, including Liz. They had hired a mini-bus and were on their way to the women's peace camp site at Molesworth Common in Cambridgeshire to have a sit-down outside the camp gates in support of the women camping there. I went back to my warm bed!
She was also a very talented lady in the arts and crafts, and later in life took a teacher training course, joining the staff as a teacher at the William Durrant School in Chesham.
In an historic and defining moment in November 1983, Liz put an article in The Bucks Examiner asking if there were people interested in starting up a Green Party in Chesham. So on one damp evening in November a curious group assembled at the Temperance Hall (now the Theatre in the Park) in Church Street, including Kate and myself. There it was that the Chesham and Amersham Green Party was born. For a time afterwards our monthly meetings were held at Liz's house in Gladstone Road, before moving to the Friends Meeting House in Bellingdon Road.
Liz instigated 'The Green Umbrella Bazaar', an opportunity for like minded people to get together show their skills and display their wares. Artists, weavers, potters and lace-makers all made an appearance at this annual event that alternated between Amersham & Chesham. Over the years there were many jumble sales, and garage sales too, to help with the Local Party coffers.
A few years ago she suffered a stroke which restricted her, and for the last year of her life she has lived with her son. She died on the 12th November 2006 and was cremated at Chiltern Crematorium on the 22nd November. At this non religious service a very old man looking very frail was standing at the front. He was Liz's brother-in-law. He spoke at the service, then burst into 'The Internationale', with no accompaniment. His voice was as clear as a bell. It was wonderful; everyone clapped.
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