TRIBUTES: To Body Shop founder Anita Roddick

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown had led tributes to Dame Anita Roddick, founder of Littlehampton-based ethical cosmetics business The Body Shop, who died last night from a brain haemorrhage.

Dame Anita, 64, died in St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, on Monday, September 10 ,after being taken ill at her home in Slindon.

Her husband, Gordon, and daughters Sam and Justine were at her bedside.

Mr Brown described Dame Anita, who was born in Littlehampton, as "one of the country's true pioneers".

The town's MP Nick Gibb, said: "Anita Roddick made an amazing contribution to Littlehampton, providing employment and prestige to the town in having the headquarters of a world class company based here.

"She contributed enormously to the local community, always happy to help where she could, particularly in education.

"As well being an enterprising and innovative person she also had strong political convictions and always spoke out for her beliefs.

"The whole of Littlehampton will miss her."

West Sussex County Council cabinet member for environment and economy Louise Goldsmith said: "Dame Anita Roddick was an inspiration and a champion of ethical and environmental causes.

"She was one of the first international businesswomen in the UK and led the way for others.

"We can all learn from her ethic that community, social and environmental awareness had equal place with profit.

"She brought many jobs and prosperity to the town of Littlehampton, which was the base for the Body Shop.

"She also had close links with Littlehampton Community School, which has Specialist Business and Enterprise status, and named the Roddick Enterprise Centre after her."

County council leader Henry Smith said: "Dame Anita was an entrepreneur who put West Sussex business on the map.

"It is such a great loss and shock."

Commentators today hailed Dame Anita as a founding figure of the ethical consumer movement, a passionate advocate of human rights, environmental causes, fair trade and animal rights and a role model for women in business.

She set up the first Body Shop in 1976 in Brighton and later moved production to Littlehampton, where, at its peak, the company employed around 2,000 people.

In recent years The Body Shop underwent a major reorganisation, with the factory units sold off to South African manufacturers COSi.

Last year, global cosmetics giant L'Oreal bought The Body Shop.

Its international headquarters remain in Littlehampton.

Community ties

Jayne Wilson, head teacher, praised Dame Anita for her close links with Littlehampton Community School. "I feel very privileged and proud to have had the pleasure to work with one of the most inspirational women in our history.

"When Anita said she wanted to get involved with our bid for Business and Enterprise status in September, 2002, little did we know the impact she would have on all our lives.

"Her contribution to this school and our community was huge.

"Whether she was fighting on a world-wide issue such as free trade, or helping the young people of a small town in West Sussex get a better education, the passion, enthusiasm and great belief she had made us all work harder to achieve our goals. It was infectious."

Mrs Wilson said Dame Anita's legacy at the school included the thrice-yearly Roddick Conferences on world issues for sixth-formers and the Roddick Enterprise Centre to name just two. "Her physical presence at LCS will be sorely missed, but she leaves a legacy of passion, aspiration and motivation."

Town mayor Dr James Walsh had known Dame Anita many years. "We used to hold Liberal Party meetings in her parents' cafe, and later in her Woodlands Road home.

"She was always a natural campaigner for justice for those at the bottom of the pile, whether through poor wages, housing or discrimination.

"She relished challenges, and The Body Shop certainly presented many from the very beginning.

"Littlehampton bank managers laughed at her request for a 4,000 loan to start her business, as did several local businessmen.

"Ian McGlinn, then living above Sea Lane Garage gave her the loan, and was eventually a bigger shareholder than the Roddicks!

"The Body Shop helped put Littlehampton on the commercial map again, and has been a huge boon to the economy of the area, and many local people are grateful for that.

"We all mourn her sudden passing, and extend our condolences to the extended family. We will miss her enthusiasm and zest for life, but remember her as one of Littlehampton's finest."

Labour councillor and former mayor Mike Northeast said: "Anita never forgot her roots here in Littlehampton and she was a great ambassador for the town.

"My generation will certainly remember her, right from her humble beginnings of starting up and serving in her restaurant in the High Street, The Paddington, to building her iconic headquarters for the world renowned Body Shop.

"This investment brought much-needed employment and prosperity to Littlehampton at a time when jobs in manufacturing were being axed nationally and unemployment was spiralling, but she showed faith in her home town.

"Anita will also be remembered here for her involvement in the community.

"For me, when I was mayor it was the Body Shop's support of Littlehampton 2000 in the early years that helped turn events such as the Regatta and the Wick Festival into the successes that they were.

"Her generosity and personal commitment during that time helped these any many other local community events and schemes take off and for those reasons she will always be remembered with great affection."

Keith Croft, who worked closely with Anita and husband Gordon at The Body Shop, said he had been shocked by her sudden death, just four months after her mother, Gilda Perella, had died in a Littlehampton nursing home.

"In the early days of The Body Shop," said Keith, "Anita had many opportunities to take her business away from Littlehampton, but she insisted on staying here.

"The company has been the biggest employer in this area in my lifetime, and more than that, has given a boost to many other local businesses, such as the taxi drivers, restaurants and so on.

"I saw her two weeks ago at a party, and she was in fine form. She had come back from a visit full of ideas and raring to go — she was campaigning to the bitter end. It's a great loss, very sad."

Paul Sanderson, founder of former Wick community group the WIRE Project, said: "Anita to me personally and to the project was a great friend and an inspirer.

"She always cheered us on and directed us on.

"She had such a passion for children and young people.

"Not just who they wanted to be, and what they wanted to do in the future, but who they were and what they wanted to be now.

"She was amazing.

"Littlehampton has lost an inspirer. She loved the town and was always trying to give it opportunities."

Business world

Sir Philip Green, owner of Bhs and Top Shop, called her an innovator and a pioneer. "She was one of the people instrumental in developing a different style of business.

"She developed a unique brand. It was a good idea and she got it up and running."

Stuart Rose, the Marks & Spencer chief executive, said: "She was one of the first ethical traders and was 20 years ahead of her time in.

Humanitarian campaigner

Emma Colyer from Body & Soul, the AIDS campaign group, said: "Right up to her death she was playing her part in changing the world."

Benedict Southworth, Director of the World Development Movement said: "Anita Roddick was ahead of her time as a fervent campaigner for social justice, human rights and the environment.

"Anita actively supported the World Development Movement in our fight to tackle the root causes of poverty and win justice for the world's poor.

"She was particularly supportive of our work to oppose water privatisation and promote positive solutions to the world's water crisis.

"Our thoughts are with her husband, Gordon, and her family. Anita will be greatly missed both professionally and personally.

"The world has lost a formidable advocate for green issues and human rights. WDM has lost a friend.

"The best tribute we can pay her is to carry on campaigning on the issues that she believed so passionately in."

World Future Council, executive committee chair, Bianca Jagger, of which Anita was a member, said: "My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this difficult time.

"As the founder of the Body Shop, Anita Roddick was a true pioneer who successfully combined ethical commitment to environmental sustainability and entrepreneurship."

Charles Gore, chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust, said: "She was always willing to do anything to help.

"It was extraordinary how it wouldn't matter what it was.

"Working with her was so joyful.

"She took all her causes incredibly seriously but she never took herself seriously, which made her great fun to work with."

Greenpeace director, John Sauven, said: "Anita was an amazing ball of energy and passion.

"Young people really listened to her, too.

"It did not matter whether she was with an indigenous tribe in the middle of nowhere or with a class of schoolkids - she could connect with them all."

Clive Stafford Smith is legal director at charity Reprieve. Anita had recently accepted an invitation be become the organisation's chairman.

He said: "When she eventually sold the company to L'Oreal in March 2006, she immediately ploughed millions into the Roddick Foundation, supporting charitable causes that included Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, Shelter, the Big Issue, CND and, very generously, our own work at Reprieve.

"She believed that the desire to die rich was pointless, even obscene."

Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper commented: "Anita was a leading light of the modern green movement, and was one the first people to combine a profitable business with environmental responsibility."

John Bird, the founder of the Big Issue "There is absolutely no way the Big Issue would have happened if Anita and her husband Gordon hadn't started a business that created a social engine that drove people like us to get creative"

A spokesman for PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: "She was the most courageous, progressive pioneer, who risked her business to be the first corporation to announce boldly - in letters a foot high in her store windows - 'against animal tests'.

"Before Body Shop you could only find cruelty-free products in hippie shops - now they are everywhere" he added.

Brendan Cox is executive director of Crisis Action. "Anita was an inspiration.

"She showed the scale of what you can achieve when you fight for it.

"Her energy, ambition and idealism will be an inspiration to thousands for years to come.

"She challenged social entrepreneurs to raise their game. Enough bring and buy sales, let's change the global economy.

"She showed that tinkering at the edges wasn't where we should stop, we should get involved, get our hands dirty and change the world trying."

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "Anita Roddick's passion for human rights was immeasurable and we have lost a true champion of the oppressed and persecuted."

Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth said: "Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer in adapting commercial success to environmental and social values."

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party and Minister for Women: "Anita was exceptionally generous and she campaigned for and helped women.

"But it was not just her generosity which was so valued by women's organisations but also her imaginative leadership and her understanding of the need to back small groups of women doing vital work to help other women."

Simon Hughes, president of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Anita Roddick was one of the great British role models of our age.

"She was a great environmentalist, ethical businesswoman, and campaigner for human rights worldwide."

Entrepreneur

L'Oreal head Jean-Paul Agon also praised Anita: "Anita was quite simply an extraordinary woman: inspired, visionary, very brave and extremely generous" he said.

Lynne Brindley, chief executive of the British Library, said: "Dame Anita Roddick redefined what it meant to be an entrepreneur, a woman in the world of business and a campaigner on a host of issues.

We at the British Library are immensely proud to have enjoyed her support, and to have benefited from her boundless energy, expertise and her ability to inspire.

"It was a privilege to witness her offering guidance and inspiration to the latest generation of entrepreneurs.

"Her unique and energising presence will be sadly missed."

What did Dame Anita mean to you?

Leave your tributes to Dame Anita, one of Britain's most dynamic business women, in the space below.

Did you meet her?

How did her work inspire you to change the way you shopped?

The newsdesk would like to hear from you.

Email roger.green@littlehamptontoday.co.uk

Or call Roger Green on 01903 714135.

READERS' TRIBUTES

I never had the chance to meet Dame Anita, but she was definitely one of my favorite female entrepreneurs.

She's an inspiration for women all over the world, and most definitely an inspiration for me as I strive to follow her footsteps to make a difference in this world.

She had a light about her that always shine through, and always seem happy wherever she was.

I've been shopping at The Body Shop ever since I could remember.

In fact, I just went last weekend to buy a gift for a friend.

She will be greatly missed, and I would like to express my condolences to her family and closest friends for their loss.

May she rest in peace.

We also created an online tribute for her and it's wonderful to see what some of her closest fans have said about her as well.

They've been also posting up their favorite photos and videos on the page.

I thought I would share this for everyone to enjoy: www.respectance.com/AnitaRoddick

Thanks for allowing us to say something nice for Anita.

Virginia Ho

I was privileged to have met Anita a few times, having worked on her

website.

She inspired me greatly and kindly wrote the foreword to my

book.

I'm saddened to hear the news for she was the most incredible,

inspirational and amazing woman I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

We should learn from Anita.

Let's keep her name, her campaigning and efforts alive.

Let's follow in her footsteps and get active and be heard.

Let's fight for what we believe in.

Anita Roddick was an incredible human being who meant a great deal to me and inspired so many women across the globe.

A role model, mother, entrepreneur and activist - Anita was a shining star.

She made a difference.

She had energy, humanity. Anita was awesome!

Visit www.anitaroddick.com and www.takeitpersonally.org to see which campaigns were close to Anita's heart and do what you can to support them.

I'll be doing so and thinking about what else I can do to keep on burning a light that burned so brightly.

Anita Roddick - true legend, rest in peace.

Cheryl Rickman

Author and Writer

Hampshire

I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to the family of Anita Roddick, I have been a regular customer at the Body Shop in Chichester for the past 25 years and will remember and thank Anita for this wonderful shop.

Claudia Lechmere

IT WAS with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dame Anita Roddick, a lady who rose to the top of the business world, but who never forgot her home town or her secondary modern education at the predecessor to Littlehampton Community School (LCS).

Having been to a number of school functions, many of which Dame Anita also attended, you could not but be inspired by her enthusiasm and passion to make things happen there.

Many times she chased the local businesses to raise much-needed cash for things that the school budget just did not have the money for, and she always made her target.

I well remember one party she gave at her home for all the people from the Littlehampton 2000 regeneration group, who sponsored the school's new business centre.

In her thank-you speech, Dame Anita referred to Jayne Wilson, the head teacher, saying: "Jayne, if you had been my head teacher, I would have done a darned sight better at school."

This was the type of lady she was — what you see is what you get. Pupils and staff have told me that lessons on business with Dame Anita were "awesome".

Therefore, with the coming of the new academy over the next couple of years, can I please ask Richard Davies, chair of the governors, and Jayne Wilson, to consider honouring this lady, the like of which we will never see again, by naming the new school The Dame Anita Roddick Academy, for all she has done for LCS and Littlehampton.

Mike Matthews, Bushby Avenue, Rustington

Share this story online

Delicious | " onclick="return fbs_click()" target="_blank">Facebook | StumbleUpon