Eve Collishaw

Photo credit: Archant.

Eve Collishaw is someone you won’t have heard of unless you follow Norwich politics very closely. I first met her on the campaign trail in Norwich North in the 1983 general election. She has stood in every local election in the city more or less every year ever since. In the mid noughties she finally achieved her aim and won seats on Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council, serving for 7 and 12 years respectively. She even became the 100th Lord Mayor of the City in 2010.

Eve was a dedicated Conservative and without her, at times, the whole Conservative organisation in Norwich South might have collapsed. She gave her time, money and much of her life to the Conservative cause. She died this week at the age of 76.

After the '83 election we became very good friends, so much so that I got to hear of rumours that we must be having an affair. Hardly! She was one of life’s characters. She could at times be a difficult friend being very outspoken and at times abrasive. But she would always be there in times of difficulty and she was by my side throughout my ill-fated campaign in North Norfolk in 2005.

Eve collishaw Chloe Smith

Around ten years ago we had a bit of a falling out, and have not been in touch much since, apart from the odd email. When I was told about her death on Wednesday, I reflected on that, and felt incredibly guilty. That sense of guilt was even more intense when I was told that she would still listen to my radio show and devour my books and speak fondly of me to others. I’m so sorry I never got to say goodbye.

My friend Antony Little, who was Conservative Group leader on the City Council, when Eve was there, and was also the Tory candidate in Norwich South in 2005 told the Norwich Evening News...

She was a grass roots politician in the best sense of the word. She was so caring about the people she represented and connected with them in a way that I think many modern politicians do not always do. She believed very much in the civic duty and that her job was to help the city. 

People on the council said we had a mother and son relationship and that's how I viewed it too. She would tell me when I was doing something wrong and of the many mistakes I made in politics, most of them were because I hadn't listened to Eve.

Norwich has lost a champion and an advocate and I have lost a really good friend and mentor.

It was good to see Eve's political opponents paying tribute to her HERE too.

This is from an online biography I found at the time of her appointment as Lord Mayor of Norwich.

Evelyn Jean Collishaw was born in Norwich on 3rd April 1945.  After leaving Norwich High School for Girls and turning her back on university to take a business training course at college in London, Eve worked for Anglia Television before emigrating to Australia by ship at 21 on her quest to see the world.   In Sydney she shared a flat near Manly Beach and enjoyed the novelties of hamburgers and milkshakes/smoothies which in 1966 along with cheap wine were new pleasures. Working in Sydney at Channel Ten and travelling by ferry across the wonderful harbour, at the same time watching the Opera House being built was a great experience.  Going to the far north of Queensland and seeing the Barrier Reef at close quarters was also amazing.

Eve returned to Norwich in 1969 and helped set up the Manpower office but the travel bug bit again and she sailed for Cape Town where she worked for architects for six months before going by train through Africa to discover some long lost relatives in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.   Sadly in 1971 her father died suddenly and she returned to Norwich to be with her mother.

Working for Air Anglia during the time flights to Amsterdam started replaced some of her restless nature. Trips on the old DC3s were a highlight.  She also helped run the office of John Oliver’s Hairdressing group before moving onto Bally Shoes as PA to the Managing Director - this satisfied her love of shoes.    Eve then moved to London for a few years to further her experience in PR and advertising with Chappell Music and Good Relations PR.

After a sabbatical trip to USA, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand in 1982, Eve decided to set up her own business and moved back to Norwich to open Event Knitwear.  During the 1980 recession many knitwear designers had started up and Eve featured British designers in her shop initially on Bedford Street and then in Bridewell Alley.   Event Knitwear was run by Eve from 1983-1993.   While running a greeting card business around Norfolk and being involved with politics for over 30 years, Eve was asked to stand for Taverham and Drayton and was elected as a Conservative Councillor on the County Council in 1997.

Eve joined Norwich City Council as the Conservative Councillor for Catton Grove in 2004 and won election again in 2007. 

Eve has many interests and is currently restoring an old wooden bungalow in North Norfolk.  She enjoys walking her dog, Rufus, on Norfolk’s wonderful beaches, as well as swimming, dancing, music, gardening, and travelling to new places.