Bunhill: Determined Ivy

IVY NEEDHAM is a determined woman. Though suffering from poor eyesight and operating largely on her own, the Leeds widow has probably done more for the cause of the Maxwell pensioners than anyone else.

It is Ivy who is taking the Government to the European Court for refusing to make up the losses caused by Maxwell's theft of pounds 450m from the pension fund. It is Ivy who recently chained herself to a railing at the House of Commons in protest. And it is she who forced her way in to see Baroness Thatcher at the Tory conference last autumn, saying that a previous meeting with John Major had done nothing for the cause of the pensioners.

On Tuesday, it is the turn of Peter Lilley, secretary of state for Social Security, to face the redoubtable Ivy. He has granted her an audience - the first he has given to any of the Maxwell pensioners - at which she will plead their plight and argue that the Government, for just pounds 50m, could guarantee their pension payments in perpetuity.

Ivy tells me she is going to give Lilley 'a piece of my mind'. He has been warned. And well done, Ivy.

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