Obituary of Janet Alty – A Tribute to Janet Alty’s Life

My mother, Janet Alty, passed away at the age of 86. She was an activist for the environment and the community. In 2015, she became the first and only Green party town councillor in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. By the time she stepped down in May 2023, the Greens had become the majority party on Warwick district council, which encompasses Warwick, Leamington Spa, and Whitnash. Janet not only advocated for her principles but also inspired others to participate in local and national campaigns.
Janet enjoyed engaging with residents and taking on difficult challenges on their behalf. She was never afraid to speak up and give a voice to others, even if it meant causing a stir. As a member of the West Midlands Green party, she played a role in establishing a paid elections team, which contributed to the party’s growth. She also had a significant influence on the party at a national level, serving as joint chair (1987-89) and being a member of the policy committee.
Furthermore, Janet campaigned for the Pedestrian Association and Living Streets, chaired the Leamington Old Town Single Regeneration Fund group, initiated the canal festival, and participated in the Warwick district faith forum while identifying herself as a member of all faiths. She was one of the founders of the Leamington home teaching scheme, assisting Punjabi women in learning English. Additionally, she co-founded the Leamington cancer support group and served as the chair of the Leamington peace festival.
Janet was born in Hartford, Cheshire, to Agnes (nee Mitchell) and Hamish Myles, who were both Scottish PhD chemists. Agnes discontinued her career after marriage, while Hamish worked as a research chemist at ICI. When Hamish became the director of ICI in New York in 1954, Janet accelerated her studies at Manchester High School for Girls and completed her A-levels in one year to migrate with her parents. She pursued modern languages at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, and later worked as a translator in Geneva.
In 1962, she married Christopher Alty, a former classmate from Grange primary school, and they settled in Cambridge, where Christopher pursued postgraduate research at Queens’ College, Cambridge. In 1965, they moved to Leamington when Christopher joined the engineering department at the newly established Warwick University.
During Christopher’s sabbatical at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, in the summer of 1976, the family resided at CAT. This experience greatly influenced Janet and Christopher’s perspectives on environmental and energy policies. Subsequently, Christopher, along with Rob Todd from CAT, edited and published “An Alternative Energy Strategy for the UK” in 1978, with Janet meticulously typing every edit. This publication proved to be a forward-thinking precursor to “Zero Carbon Britain,” published three decades later.
Christopher passed away from cancer in 1979. From 2005 onwards, Janet and her partner, Mota Singh, a former Labour mayor of Leamington Spa, dedicated themselves to supporting the Gilly Mundy memorial community school in Haryana, India, through the Buwan Kothi international trust.
Mota passed away in 2021. Janet is survived by her two children, Ali and myself, as well as three grandchildren.

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