Friends and family of Trowbridge legal reform campaigner Ann Hamilton have paid tribute to a fantastic and loving grandmother, after she died at the age of 67.
Mrs Hamilton campaigned tirelessly to change the law after her granddaughter Zoe Evans, nine, was murdered by her step-father in 1997.
Mrs Hamilton died suddenly at her home on Westfield Road last Thurs-day, where she lived with her partner George Pantlin.
Her daughter, Paula Hamilton said: “Everybody who knew her loved her. She died at home very suddenly, but she is where she wants to be with Zoe now.”
Zoe Evans went missing from her home in Warmin-ster in January 1997, prompting the country’s biggest ever search for a missing child.
Her body was eventually found six weeks later in a badger sett a mile from her home. Her step-father Miles Evans, a soldier, was convicted of her murder in 1998, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Working with the Wilt-shire Times Mrs Hamilton was instrumental in establishing the Justice for Zoe campaign, and lobbied the then Home Secretary David Blunkett to introduce a minimum tariff for child killers, delivering a 1,000 signature petition and discussing the case on national television.
Her daughter said: “During the campaign I was in the background, as I wanted my son to have a normal life, but mum did all the public work.
“She wasn’t an attention-seeker, but it was what she believed in. She was a quiet, mild-mannered person, but when she went for it, she really went for it.”
Mr Pantlin said: “She never supported the death penalty, she just wanted him to stay there and consider what he had done for the rest of his life, she wasn’t vindictive.”
Ms Hamilton, who now lives abroad, paid tribute to all the people who had helped with the campaign.
She said: “I just wanted to say thank you for all the support people have given my Mum, she very much appreciated it, and how grateful we are to the people of Wiltshire for what they have done over the years.
“They will be forever in our memories.
“She really appreciated all the support from Andrew Murrison MP, Victim Support, the Probation Service and from strangers coming up to her in the street.”
Trowbridge town crier Trevor Heeks worked with Ann during the campaign.
He said: “It was devastating to hear she had gone at an early age, but what a fantastic grandmother she was.
“A grandmother’s love is always there and she put her heart and soul into getting the petition going, and she fought for her beliefs.
“Trowbridge has lost a lady that a lot of people respected.”
Dr Murrison, who helped take the fight to Westminster, said: “I am very sorry to hear this sad news. Ann tirelessly advanced the Justice for Zoe campaign.”
Mrs Hamilton’s funeral will take place on Monday at 9.30am at West Wiltshire Crematorium. Donations in her memory can be made to The Rose Charity, Warmin-ster, which raised money to send the family on holiday after Zoe’s death, via DJ Bewley funeral directors, on 01225 353525.