Early life

Chief Mama Elouise Edwards MBE MA.

Sunrise 28th December 1932 Sunset 22nd January 2021

Early life – Bio

Elouise was born in Guyana, South America on the 28th December 1932. Her mother Erica Grimes was married to Samuel Chandler and they had ten children, five boys and five girls. Elouise being the youngest. Elouise was just 6 years old when her mother died at the age of 42. She went to board and study at the Ursuline Convent school in Georgetown. In the holidays she would go home and spend weeks with her father moving up and down by barge between settlements on Guyana’s great Potaro river as her father carried out his engineering job. He was a dredgemaster for the industry mining for gold in the river.

In 1955, Miss Elouise Chandler married Mr. Beresford Edwards. He was a successful young printer whose ambition was to travel to work in England and to study lithography. In 1960, he moved to England and a year later Elouise followed with their three year old son, Beresford Junior. It was a huge change from the happy sociable life she had known in Georgetown. The couple settled in Moss Side, Manchester. Their home became a place where fellow West Indian settlers could call in to share experiences, ask advice and find support. Elouise and Berry, as he was popularly known, were determined to improve the conditions of their lives and the lives of others. They were concerned with the economic position of the West Indian community but also their educational opportunities and cultural wellbeing. The couple became central to the creation of organisations within the West Indian community which developed strategies for dealing with their shared experience of exclusion and prejudice.

After years of working in catering, in 1975, Elouise joined the Family Advice Centre in Moss Side. She worked first as a neighbourhood social worker and later as a community development officer. By now she was firmly rooted in the community. She brought her knowledge and empathy with local people’s struggles and triumphs and her understanding of how official systems worked. She was known for her kindness and her clear insight. Through her inspiration and guidance, she empowered individuals and groups, continuing in this role until her retirement in 1998.

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