Support for "Roddick Academy" at Littlehampton grows

CALLS are growing for Littlehampton's £50m, new-style secondary school to be named The Roddick Academy, as a lasting tribute to Body Shop founder Dame Anita.

The academy, a complete rebuild of Littlehampton Community School, came a step nearer this week when the government announced it had accepted outline proposals by West Sussex County Council and its partner in the project, Woodard Schools, which also runs Lancing College and other public schools.

Clearing that hurdle has given fresh impetus to those who would like to see the academy provide a fitting memorial to Dame Anita, who died last month, aged 64.

She had developed strong ties with the school in recent years, playing a key role in its bid to become a specialist business and enterprise college and taking part in conferences and classroom sessions. A new enterprise centre is already named after the pioneering businesswoman who grew up in Littlehampton and went to Maude Allen Secondary School, later to become part of Littlehampton Community School (LCS).

Rustington businessman Mike Matthews, who also has strong ties with the school, was first to make the suggestion that the academy should be named after Dame Anita, in a letter to the Gazette the week that she died.

Town mayor Dr James Walsh, a governor at LCS, is also backing the idea. He said: "The Roddick Academy has a nice ring to it. The Body Shop itself is the obvious memorial to her founding the business, but naming the academy after her would be an equally fitting memorial to her involvement with the school, where she was once a pupil and was a great supporter of the business and enterprise specialist college bid."

Town and Arun councillor Mike Northeast said: "I think it would be a marvellous idea. I had been wondering just how we could honour Anita for the business, economic and community legacy she has left us in the town.

"To name the new Littlehampton Academy after her would be a most fitting tribute to her commitment and I think it's something that, if Anita was still with us, she would have taken a very keen interest and involvement in."

LCS head teacher Jayne Wilson, who described Dame Anita as "one of the most inspirational women in our history", said the suggestion of naming the new academy after her deserved serious consideration.

* For the full story, see this week's Littlehampton Gazette