3rd November 2008

Tribute to Norman Mead: 1927 – 2008

by Peter Sanders, SSE Chairman

You will be saddened to hear that Norman Mead, SSE’s Deputy Chairman, died on Sunday morning following an aneurism the day before. He was 81.

Norman was our first Chairman, from 2002 to 2004, and before that he had led the campaign against the expansion of Stansted airport as General Secretary of the North West Essex and East Herts Preservation Association (NWEEHPA), a post which he held from 1986 to the present day.

He was totally dedicated to our cause. He played a leading role in NWEEHPA’s campaign during the Eyre Inquiry, in the early 1980s; over the next two decades he continued to keep a watchful eye on developments; and when the Government published its airport expansion consultation document in 2002 he stepped up and took on the heavy responsibility of leading the newly formed SSE. At a time when increasing years would have given him the excuse to take life more easily he remained fully active and involved. Even on the Monday before he died he attended a meeting of our Executive Committee.

All of us have benefited from Norman’s long experience and expertise. He responded to every call for help and advice. But more than that – he was unfailingly kind and courteous. Even in the fiercest arguments he was calm and unruffled, never failing to put his case clearly and firmly, but always respectful of those who took a different view. And he won their respect too. It was symbolic of the esteem in which he was generally held that in 2005 he was awarded the MBE.

Norman was a giant in more ways than one, and if we say that SSE now stands on the shoulders of giants it is Norman that we most have in mind. We have lost him at a critical time, when we are just about to embark on the Inquiry into the proposal to establish a second runway at Stansted. We shall miss his wisdom and advice, but we shall be all the more determined to carry our campaign to the successful conclusion that he would have wanted and for which he had worked for so many years.

Our sympathies go out to Norman’s family, but especially to Beryl, who has been such a tower of support to Norman and a great inspiration in her own right.


Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits