Jersey's first female Constable dies

  • Iris Le Feuvre in 2019, remembering her first day in the States Assembly

Iris Le Feuvre, who was Jersey's first female Constable, has died at the age of 94.

The Le Feuvre family say her strong sense of community and commitment to public service remained a constant throughout a very full and active life.

They added she was a "warm and fun-loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. A proud Jersey woman who will be much missed, and an inspiration to all who knew her."

Born in St Martin in 1928, Iris Renouf attended the States Intermediate School on Brighton Road, St Helier.

Her interest in politics is said to have stemmed from her bus journeys to school when, on States’ days, she would sit near St Peter Constable, John du Val, Jurat Francis Le Feuvre and St Mary Deputy, Philip Le Feuvre, and overhead their conversations.

During the German Occupation, Iris' family sheltered an escaped Russian prisoner of war and, after the Liberation, she worked as a bookkeeper.

In 1948, she married Eric Le Feuvre and the couple had four sons.

Iris became Chairman of the Communicare Management Committee, in which she argued strongly for the creation of a day centre for the elderly. This was after her interest in joining the Honorary Police was discouraged, as at the time it was seen as a man's role.

In 1978, Iris was elected unopposed as Deputy of St Lawrence alongside Hendricus Vandervliet.

At the time she said that she had come back from a holiday on the Monday, two days before the nomination meeting, not yet having given much thought to the election - but by Wednesday evening she found herself as one of the two St. Lawrence Deputies.

In 1981 Iris was defeated by John Le Fondré, father of the former Chief Minister, John Le Fondré.

Three years later, in 1984, Iris was elected as Connétable in a three-cornered fight against Denis Satchwell and Deputy Hendricus Vandervliet.

During her time as President of the Education Committee, she oversaw the building of the new Haute Vallée School but failed to push through plans to abolish the 14-plus transfer and convert Hautlieu into a sixth-form college.

In an interview with ITV Channel TV in 2019 Iris said: "I think that's the thing I'm most proud of, what I did with education."

After her retirement from the States Iris was awarded an MBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours for services to the community.

Then in 2003, she headed a group producing a report on Jersey's ageing population and she was also appointed to lead the Co-ordinating Committee for the Eradication of Poverty in Jersey.

Jersey's Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore says Jersey is "fortunate to have benefited from [Iris'] many years of service" and the community is "diminished by her loss".

“I am deeply saddened to hear that former St Lawrence Connétable Iris Le Feuvre has passed away.

“She was the first woman to hold the office of Connétable and was well known as a long-serving and dedicated President of the Education Committee. She set an example which many of us are still seeking to follow today.

“Iris was a long-standing, forthright and respected representative of St Lawrence and I know maintained an acute interest in parish and Island life right up until her passing.

“Iris was part of the unique occupation generation and possessed the characteristics typical of that time - independence of thought, determination and compassion.

“I send my condolences, thoughts and best wishes to all her family and many friends at this sad and difficult time.”