With great sadness, the SNBA announces the death of its former, long-standing Chair and proprietor of Rosa Lingerie, Rosanne Berry. Rosanne took over Rosa in 1995 and became involved in the Business Association from its start, serving as Chair for two periods. The title ‘Chair’ was often wholly inadequate as, at times, she acted as CEO, treasurer, press officer, campaigns manager, recruiting sergeant and, let’s not forget, social secretary.
She campaigned on local issues, great and small – successfully persuading Hackney Council to appoint a Town Centre Manager for Stoke Newington; and ensuring that Stoke Newington had a Christmas tree, and that it should be “properly” decorated, a battle she didn’t always win. However, there was a tree, and it was the gathering point for an annual carol service open to all, she made sure of that.
Beyond her work in the local community, she will also be remembered for her fund raising in aid of breast cancer research, in particular the fashion shows she instigated to raise funds for that cause. With her own business to run, no budget, organising committee or outside help, the shows took enormous effort and energy – there were so many arms that needed twisting, and Rosanne could twist with the best of them.
Rosanne had a passion for her own business, believing that every woman should be comfortable and feel confident in the way they look, regardless of age, shape or size. She tackled the mission of assessing her customers’ needs unaided by a tape measure. There are some men who believe they can size women by eye, Rosanne actually could. The family of the founder of Rosa chose a successor well as she continued its tradition of personal service with an individual style.
She loved to be in the know and to be involved with all aspects of local life, it was not solely about the traders’ problems and worries. She was not one to draw too sharp a line between a business and social life, they were not distinct entitles, but more a continuous spectrum that she liked to view from all points. Not afraid to stand up for and act on what she believed, she could be forthright, yet humourous, warm hearted, generous with time and compassionate.
If this sad announcement has come as a surprise to some of you, that is testament to another side of her, a dedicated family person. At least two generations of her family were often to be found in her shop, helping out, or just hanging out, and it was to her family that she turned when cancer started to take hold. The thoughts of all who knew her at the SNBA are with her family.
Stoke Newington has lost a dedicated trader, a great servant, a big character and a friend. Thank you Rosanne, you are, and will be missed.
Words by Guy Smith