Australian Cittaslow community adds its tribute to Aylsham leading light Liz Jones
Miss Jones, who celebrated her 60th birthday in September, died in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital yesterday, after a short illness.
More than 100 tributes to her have already been posted on the Facebook page of Aylsham Parish Church, where she was a churchwarden and organiser of two very successful flower festivals.
In an email to Aylsham vicar the Rev Andrew Beane, the Bishop of Norwich said: “The loss to Aylsham is incalculable. She has been a huge gift to the town and the parish church.”
Aylsham-born, Miss Jones’ involvement in the town was extensive.
She had been manager of the town’s Market Place Break charity shop for 17 years, and a town councillor - with a five-year break - for a total of 31 years, including two terms, from 2004-2010, as its chairman.
During this time she spearheaded an unsuccessful public campaign to keep the town’s community St Michael’s Hospital open.
As a town councillor, she became the driving force behind Aylsham’s successful bid to become a pilot UK Cittaslow town.
Miss Jones often said that the international movement’s philosophy of making communities healthier, greener, happier, slower places to live “fitted Aylsham like a glove.”
As part of Cittaslow, Miss Jones revived Aylsham’s carnival and later introduced the now-annual Aylsham Food Festival.
The last time many people saw her was when she attended the festival dinner, prepared and served by students at Aylsham High School, last month.
Cittaslow status boosted Aylsham’s profile nationally and internationally and Miss Jones spent two years, from 2010-2012, as chairman of Cittaslow UK.
Cittaslow took her to South Korea, Poland and all over Britain, including the House of Lords. She also welcomed South Korean guests to Aylsham on two occasions.
While at one Cittaslow event she met someone passionate about bee pollination, came home and began a process which is leading to the creation of a “bee garden” on town council land at Banningham Road.
Phil Goddard, deputy chief executive of Break, said Miss Jones had turned the charity’s Aylsham shop into one of Break’s most successful.
He added: “but her contribution to Break was far more than this. She was a stalwart of the staff consultation forum, which for a time she co-chaired, representing her colleagues with fairness and integrity.
“She was an inspiration, not only to her own staff and volunteers, but also to all her colleagues at Break. Liz will be sadly missed by them all.”
Miss Jones never married and lived, on Hungate Street, with her mother until Mrs Jones’ death about five years ago.
Mr Beane said a photo of Miss Jones put on the church’s Facebook page had been seen by 4,500 people yesterday.
“The amazing thing about Liz was that she knew young people and the elderly - she knew everybody and so many things in the town wouldn't have happened without her," he added.
“She was a truly magnificent woman - incredibly strong, really organised, and with an incredible faith.”