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19 December, 2011

After India gained independence in 1947, my friend Janet Mace and I were invited to join the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement's campaign, headed by Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, to build a 'clean, strong and united' democracy. The campaign involved people from all religions, and for Janet, who has died aged 86, it was a life of faith and prayer.

Janet Mace
Janet Mace
We were given generous hospitality in India. During a campaign in Kolkata, we showed a film in cinemas, inviting parties from schools and women's clubs. In Mumbai we stayed in a noisy, crowded area. At night we could tell the time by the Hindi songs belting out from the cinema. We were lent a bungalow at Juhu beach, where the cook made shrimp curry for Christmas lunch. We would swim early in the morning before leaving for the city in our Morris Minor. We visited the hill town of Panchgani, little thinking one day there would be a thriving MRA centre there and that we would return many times.

Janet was born in Poole, Dorset. She attended Talbot Heath school in Bournemouth, and later Horsham high school. She was a Wren during the second world war. It was through her parents that she became involved with MRA, serving in India for 14 years and also in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Britain. She loved writing and published a collection of her poems under the title Time for Courage.

She always thought about helping others. I often called her Saint Janet, thanks to her sense of duty, dedication and devotion, to God and her friends.

Fiona Daukes

This obituary first appeared in The Guardian, 15 December 2011, in its Other Lives column.

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