Obituary: Baroness Vickers

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The Independent Online
JOAN VICKERS was one of the kindest and friendliest people I have known, writes Baroness Elliot of Harwood. Her life covered a long spell of political history in which she played an active part.

She was a member of the London County Council from 1937 to 1945, when she contested the general election, standing as a Conservative in South Poplar - she didn't win this seat but in 1955 she fought a spectacular election in the Devonport Division of Plymouth and defeated Michael Foot. This brought her great praise and she remained a member for Devonport for 19 years.

Her interests covered a very wide field - but always her thoughts went to Plymouth. I remember her referring to that city whenever the opportunity arose. To my great delight she was given the Freedom of the City of Plymouth in 1982. With all her world contacts she never left out any opportunity to help people in Britain. She was actively interested in homeless young people and was deeply distressed by their increase, and by the fact that no legislation seemed really to help.

I don't think I have ever known anybody who had such varied interests and was so good and helpful in all she supported. I met her first when she was on the LCC but it was when she became an MP that I got to know her well and my husband, Walter Elliot, was a great admirer of all her many activities - he was always keen to have women in parliament, and Joan was an excellent example of this good influence. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1964. I was delighted when she joined us in the House of Lords and we worked together on many community and social work subjects.

It was in the late Eighties that she had to give up coming to the House, owing to an injured knee which made it painful to walk. I hoped very much that this was a temporary disability, but, alas, it turned out to be permanent. Joan Vickers was an original person - acting very much on her own initiative with such wide interests and experiences. There is no one else to replace her.