In memory of Anna Lightfoot

Monday, April 26, 2010

Introducing Anna

My daughter Anna was born in Accrington, Lancashire, on December 6th 1970. It took barely twenty minutes for her to burst into the world, not exactly with hockey stick in hand but certainly kicking and raring to go, which proved to be a fair indication of how she lived her life thereafter.

And it was a full one, packed with hobbies and passions, in particular anything to do with outdoor pursuits, wild life and conservation. If there were fourteen days in a week, she would fill every one of them and still double book herself.

She was an outdoor, sporty sort of person. Walking, canoeing, abseiling, riding, archery, tennis, netball, cricket, you name it, she tried them all.

She’d climbed her first mountain, Coniston Old Man, by the time she was five, complaining loudly about the boring bits and then running the last ten feet to the summit while we were on our knees.

There was nothing she loved more than the challenge of climbing to the top and looking down upon the world. Her feet itched to explore every inch of it and for Anna there would always be another mountain to climb.

Her greatest passion was hockey. As a teenager she played centre forward for Cornwall Under 21s, and for the West of England. She twice got trials for England, but an ankle injury let her down so she wasn’t able to take part.

You could never accuse Anna of overwork on the academic front, and looking at her match and training schedule how could she possibly find the time? She had a bag full of trophies, her greatest achievement being when she captained St Austell 6th Form ladies Hockey Team when they won the British Association of Sport in Colleges National Championships in 1989.

When injury forced her to give up competitive hockey, she took up caving and climbing instead. Just in case she missed any corner of this beautiful planet, she decided it would be good to explore deep below ground as well as above. The very thought gave me claustrophobia but to Anna it was all good fun and an awesome spectacle of nature at its best.

We grew used to her ringing to say she was bringing a friend to stay the night after some expedition or other, which often involved washing them down with a hose pipe first. Her caving friends tell us of her fondness for mud fights, one of which landed her in outpatients with some mud in her eye. Apparently she was still joking until they actually started flushing it out.

She was also qualified canoe instructor and had worked at PGL in her gap year, and at Kielder Water Operations Centre where she was trained in general warden duties, land management, conservation and recreation.

She then studied for an HND in Countryside Management at Aberystwyth Welsh Agricultural College and went on to work as a countryside warden for Tameside, Greater Manchester.

She was affectionate, bubbly, outgoing, and strong, and even as a young girl always sensitive to the emotions and troubles of others, sometimes to her own detriment. It was this combination of caring and love of adventure, coupled with her passion for conservation, which led her to apply to go on the Raleigh Expedition.


  1. What a waste of a good and useful life. The same can't be said of the people who took it from her. I hope the criminal is soon found and brought to justice. So sad.

  2. Though I knew the tragic end from the beginning, Anna's love of life bubbled through her story. She made a big difference in the lives of those who knew her or worked with her and her memory will live on through the school she helped to build and through the testimonies of her friends and work colleagues. I know you are proud of her, not just for what she did - but for who she was as a person. She was a lovely girl - with a warm heart and a vibrant personality. A girl in a million.
    With love from Karen