'She is irreplaceable': Award-winning Cambridgeshire countryside campaigner Shirley Fieldhouse dies at 84

PUBLISHED: 17:14 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 10 January 2019

Dedicated countryside campaigner Shirley Fieldhouse who gave her “heart and soul” to Cambridgeshire for more than 40 years has died. Here she is pictured in 2012 receiving the Marsh Honorary Award for Outstanding Contribution to CPRE. Picture: CPRE/ NIGEL KEENE

Dedicated countryside campaigner Shirley Fieldhouse who gave her "heart and soul" to Cambridgeshire for more than 40 years has died. Here she is pictured in 2012 receiving the Marsh Honorary Award for Outstanding Contribution to CPRE. Picture: CPRE/ NIGEL KEENE

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A dedicated countryside campaigner who gave her "heart and soul" to Cambridgeshire for more than 40 years has died at .

Shirley Fieldhouse, from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), became ill in autumn last year.

Shirley came to Cambridge from the North of England in 1959 and worked as secretary to Professor Sir Nevill Mott, the Cavendish professor of physics.

It was Professor Mott’s sister, Joan Fitch, who introduced Shirley to the CPRE in 1975.

From being an activist and volunteer, in 1977 Shirley was elected to the CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough branch committee.

Branch chairman, Alan James, said: “CPRE locally and nationally is greatly saddened by Shirley’s death. She really gave her heart and soul to this organisation for many years.

“It has been a rare honour to meet and work with someone so dedicated, so competent, and who despite achieving so much was so humble in her approach.

“CPRE and the people of Cambridgeshire will always be in her debt.”

In 1981 Shirley became branch secretary, a post she held for 15 years.

Her particular areas of expertise were Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire, East Cambridgeshire and Fenland.

Between 1997 and 2015, Shirley’s tireless work for CPRE was recognised with three prestigious awards - the CPRE medal (1997), the Marsh honorary award for outstanding contribution to CPRE (2012) and the CPRE lifetime achievement award (2015).

Shirley, who was a keen cyclist, was also heavily involved with Cambridgeshire ACRE, the rural community council for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Until 2005, she was a board member.

She was also a dedicated member of Amnesty International and treasurer of the Unitarian Church in Cambridge where she worshipped.

“Shirley was still making positive contributions to enhance CPRE’s responses to planning applications after she was taken ill in autumn 2018,” said CPRE chairman Alan James.

“She was highly respected by all those who met her, even if they did not agree with CPRE’s stance on particular subjects.

“Everyone at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Branch of CPRE will miss Shirley for her unique skills and knowledge, her tenacious and energetic campaigning, and her love of our precious countryside.

“She is, quite literally, irreplaceable.”

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