Lilla Fox (1914-2014) lived true to her belief that there is a better world to be had which included all people of all races and beliefs
Lilla Fox, artist, teacher, CND activist, Communist Party member and reader of the Daily Worker and Morning Star since the 1930s died peacefully recently only weeks after celebrating her 100th birthday.
Lilla’s lifelong belief in the struggle for peace and socialism was rooted in her upbringing. Born in a Quaker family to Joseph Tylor Fox, a doctor, and his wife Elsie Gilbert, a nurse, Lilla was left with her grandparents while her parents went to work on the eastern front as part of the Friends War Victims Relief Committee. Joseph was a conscientious objector.
At the end of the war the family moved to Lingfield in Surrey where Joseph was medical director of Lingfield Epileptic Colony. After being taught at local primary schools Lilla went to Quaker boarding school in York where her talent for drawing was recognised, and from there she went to Slade Art School, part of University College London.
Lilla threw herself into student politics and faced with the depression and the growth of nazism became a communist.
She met her husband Brian Pearce, a fellow communist, while a student. They had three children, Ruth, Margaret and Joseph, before the marriage broke up in 1948. Lilla moved with the children to Purley, Surrey, and worked as an art teacher in a girls school in Horley until her retirement.
In 1953 Lilla moved to Reigate, joined the CND and became active locally in the movement. She was constantly designing posters, cards and leaflets for CND.
In 1986 she moved to Crawley to be near her youngest daughter and there she became active in the local CND group, pensioners association and Morning Star readers and supporters group.
She had a wide circle of friends of every background and had a gift for talking with anyone, friend or foe, which came in handy when Lilla started selling the Morning Star in the local market every Saturday — many times on her own, sitting on her buggy with her handmade boards proclaiming the headlines.
She was deeply committed to multiculturalism and delighted in visiting the local Sikh and Hindu temples.
After the September 11 2001 attacks Lilla took every opportunity to promote the anti-war stance of the Communist Party, CND and Stop the War organisations and would help distribute the Morning Star at every event she attended and took part in all the mass demonstrations. Lilla would often go to Labour Party conferences and TUC congresses held in Brighton and would ride her buggy up and down the line of queuing delegates beguiling them and berating them into buying the paper.
Lilla’s political convictions were strong and unswerving. She lived true to her belief that there is a better world to be had which included all people of all races and beliefs.
Lilla’s life will be celebrated today by friends and family at Brighton Friends Meeting House, where there will be a memorial book for participants to write their own memories of Lilla.
If you would like to share your memories of Lilla the family would warmly welcome them. Email Ruth Toye at email@example.com.