Humanitarian worker improved lives of thousands in the world

Josie Buxton with her daughter Megan, 17

Josie Buxton with her daughter Megan, 17

First published in News

A WOMAN who devoted her career to working on humanitarian projects around the world has died aged 52.

Josie Buxton was an entomologist, a zoologist specialising in insects, who took a leading role for Oxford charity Oxfam, taking innovative approaches in aid to countries such as Kenya, Sierra Leone, Burma and South Africa.

Her work championed schemes which offered grants and loans to help those in need start enterprises, instead of donations of goods, money or food. She also looked at the impact of insects on crops.

In the time Ms Buxton worked for Oxfam, she is thought to have had positive impact on thousands of lives.

Josie Buxton was born on May 8, 1961 in Warrington, Cheshire, to parents Maurice and Pauline Buxton.

She grew up in Liverpool with siblings Tony, 54, Michael, 49, and Elizabeth, 47.

After attending Booker Avenue Primary School and Aigburth Vale secondary school, she briefly started training as a nurse.

However, she changed her mind in 1980, instead moving to London to attend the Polytechnic of Central London, now the University of Westminster.

There she completed a biology degree in 1983 and went on to study applied entomology at Imperial College from 1984-1985. In 1986 she worked as an entomology assistant in Sierra Leone, before continuing similar work back at Imperial College from 1989 to 1992.

In 1993 and 1994 she went on a research trip to Nairobi, Kenya, investigating forest ecosystems.

This was followed by a brief spell at a Guildford scientific research laboratory in 1995 and 1996.

It was the next phase of her life that proved to be the most defining, however.

In 1996 she gave birth to her daughter, Megan, now 17, and moved to South Oxford, where she was to keep a home for the rest of her life.

This was to prepare for the job at Oxfam she took in 1998 as a humanitarian officer.

That saw her seconded to a number of global posts administering programmes, including Kenya from 2003-2009 and Burma from 2009-2012.

Ms Buxton, who was divorced, had hobbies including camping, local politics and gardening, and she tended an allotment off the Abingdon Road for a number of years.

She was also a strong advocate of human rights and campaigned at numerous demonstrations of the anti-apartheid movement in London in the 1980s.

Josie Buxton died on February 17, in Sobell House hospice, Headington, from pancreatic cancer.

A funeral was held at Oxford Town Hall on March 6 which saw some 150 people attend, many of whom she had met through her international work at Oxfam.

She is survived by her mother Pauline, 82, sister, two brothers and her daughter.

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