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Unwavering “sense of social justice” among tributes at elderly flat fire victim’s funeral

PUBLISHED: 09:30 11 July 2013

The procession began at Elizabeth Wiseman's home

The procession began at Elizabeth Wiseman's home

Dieter Perry

Scores of mourners gathered to pay their respects and say final farewells to a much-loved Islington pensioner who was praised for her unwavering “sense of social justice”.

Well-wishers joined visited Elizabeth Wiseman's home before her funeralWell-wishers joined visited Elizabeth Wiseman's home before her funeral

Elizabeth Wiseman, 77, made the final journey from her home in Liverpool Road to St Pancras Cemetery on Monday after being killed by a blaze at her flat in Washington Court, Old Royal Free Place.

Her daughter Martha this week led tributes to a woman who served Islington’s schools as a teacher for more than 20 years in a bid to give something back the community.

Mrs Wiseman had moved to the borough from Liverpool in 1964 with husband David, who passed away 17 years ago.

In a moving speech Martha told how her mother became a teacher at Islington Green, Highbury Hill and William Tyndale schools before her retirement to help reverse the fortunes of impoverished children.

She said: “She loved Islington and the schools she taught in. If you walked down the road with my mum it was a constant refrain of ‘hello Miss’, or ‘Hello Elizabeth’.

“Everybody knew her. She was just such an open, friendly person.

“It was something she felt very strongly about, teaching. She wanted to give back to the community.

“When she came to Islington it wasn’t the affluent place it is now. She made a commitment to teach in local schools to help those who were perhaps less well off.

“She had a very strong sense of social justice. It was all about bringing out the best in people in the classroom.”

Mourners joined scores of well-wishers who formed a cortege which began at the pensioner’s home at 1pm before a private service at St Pancras Cemetery.

Mrs Wiseman’s daughter, also an Islington resident, added: “We have been inundated with kind words which we wish to thank everybody for.

“She was very clever, very kind and loving, very funny and very shrewd.

“She was a complete character. She trod her own path. She was admirable and overcame great adversity in her life.

“She was remarkably spirited and resilient and was the first person in her family to go to university.”

An investigation into the fire on Friday, June 19, at 7pm, is expected to conclude the blaze was ignited by a cigarette, with Elizabeth being a known smoker.


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