Marianne Williams
Marianne Williams

Tributes have been paid to Rotarian and Cruse Bereavement Care stalwart Marianne Williams, who lost her battle with cancer earlier this month.

Marianne, a founder member of Eastbourne Rotary AM, had been fighting cancer since April.

She died at home surrounded by her family.

Her funeral takes place today (Friday) at 2pm at St Mary’s Church, Old Town.

Fellow Rotarians said this week they were blessed to have known Marianne and Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said, “I and many others across our town will miss Marianne dreadfully.

“She was an absolutely lovely lady.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Geoffrey and the family.”

Born in Sweden, Marianne grew up in Stockholm and was a ballerina with the Royal Swedish Ballet and in later years represented her country in fencing.

She also qualified as a medical laboratory technician.

She came to the UK in 1960 to stay with an English family and met her future husband Geoffrey in Bexhill.

The couple were married in 1965 and had two daughters Ingela and Katherine and son Anthony.

The family moved to Eastbourne in 1975 and Marianne managed a conference centre in the town before becoming involved in Eastbourne Cruse Bereavement Care as a counsellor and fundraiser.

She was also a founder of Eastbourne Rotary AM, organised opera evenings to support young musicians locally and enjoyed the theatre as well as spending time with her family including four grandchildren, Kendal, Finlay, Kari and Millie.

Peter Lindsey, another founder member of Eastbourne AM and close friend, said, “Marianne was the most wonderful, warm and kind person who always put others before herself.

“She worked tirelessly for charity, in particular East Sussex CRUSE, and was always the first to volunteer when Rotarians were raising money for worthwhile organisations.

“She always went that step further, always went the extra mile, to benefit other people and charities, and one of her legacies will be the Music Bursary she organised annually – almost single-handedly – with the East Sussex Music Service at the Birley Centre.

“A truly fine lady who will be missed by so many.”

David Barker at Cruse Bereavement Service said, “From my first meeting with Marianne, I was enamoured with how enthusiastic, dedicated and committed she was to Cruse.

“There was nothing she wouldn’t do for Cruse.

“It has been a privilege and honour to work with her.

“She had such warmth, was willing to listen and support. She will be so sorely missed.”