Prominent British-Indian peer Shreela Flather passed away after a short illness in the UK on Tuesday. She was 89.
Known for her elegant sarees in the House of Lords, the teacher and politician was a life peer as Baroness Flather of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire.
As the Lifetime President of the Memorial Gates Council, she was instrumental in the creation of the iconic Memorial Gates at Hyde Park Corner in London as a tribute to the war efforts made by some five million Commonwealth soldiers during the World Wars.
“Baroness Flather was a trailblazer, having been appointed as the first UK Asian Woman Justice of the Peace, Mayor and Baroness. She worked tirelessly for women’s and girls’ rights, and served the South Asian community in the UK,” reads a family statement.
“She will be much missed for her sense of humour, plain speaking, and commitment to a range of causes linked to race, immigration and dignity of dying. She will be remembered especially for founding and setting up the Memorial Gates in central London dedicated to the memory of non-white soldiers from the Commonwealth who fought in the two great wars,” it notes.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chair of the Memorial Gates Council, expressed his sadness at the passing away of Baroness Flather – the “driving force” behind the memorial and someone he knew for 30 years for breaking “one glass ceiling after another”.
“I will always be grateful to her as she was the person who brought me into Parliament for the first time when she started an initiative called ‘Asian Link’, which brought in young Asians to events she organised with Cabinet ministers speaking, at the House of Lords,” shared Bilimoria in his tribute.
“She was a unique personality and a force of nature. Shreela was always proud of being Indian and Asian. She was an inspiration to me and to so many and paved the way for so many of us. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her,” he said.