Buxton woman described as a 'dazzling butterfly' and 'free spirit' died in Oxfordshire, inquest hears

A Buxton woman described as a ‘dazzling butterfly’ and ‘free spirit’ was found dead in a farm outbuilding in Oxfordshire, an inquest has heard.
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PR manager Liz Mackenzie was branded a force to be reckoned with having had a prestigious career including event management for the Royal Opera Gala in 2005, attended by Prince Charles.

However, when the coronavirus pandemic struck and Britain was locked down, the 44-year-old was put on furlough which sent the creative mother-of-two into a "downward spiral," the inquest heard yesterday (Wednesday).

Liz had gone to stay with her aunt on May 21, the inquest heard.

Liz Mackenzie with the Duke of Devonshire and Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust Chairman James BerresfordLiz Mackenzie with the Duke of Devonshire and Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust Chairman James Berresford
Liz Mackenzie with the Duke of Devonshire and Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust Chairman James Berresford

Proud aunt Eileen Cartledge described Liz as an outgoing, positive and energetic woman always looking on the bright side.

Ms Cartledge said: "The last year had been terrible for her. The pandemic meant she was furloughed and her marriage was in trouble, they were about to embark in divorce."The inquest heard that three hours after she has gone missing, her aunt phoned her Liz’s husband Alex before she felt there was "no other option" but to dial 999 and report Liz as missing.

Liz’s body was discovered in the early hours of June 4 this year in a farm outbuilding at Mill Cottage, Marcham, Abingdon. The cause of her death was confirmed as hanging.

Her father Phillip Holland said: "Elizabeth was a dazzling butterfly, a free spirit, she was the most loving, kind soul but she flew too near to the sun."

Having met her husband Alex in 2001, the pair married in 2008 and lived in Buxton with their two sons, having started a barn conversion before her tragic death.

Sitting at Oxford coroners court, senior coroner Darren Salter concluded a verdict of suicide.

Following Liz’s death, there was an outpouring of love for her in Buxton, where she had worked for several organisations including Buxton Opera House, the University of Derby and the Buxton International Festival.

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Tributes paid to woman who gave her 'heart and soul' to Buxton

More recently she was involved in the Buxton Spa Prize, organising Pump Room Live, working with the Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust and was also the development, events and PR Manager for the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust.

Jennifer Spencer, chairman of trustees at the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust, paid tribute to the mum-of-two.

She told the Buxton Advertiser: “Liz was a great asset and has been involved with the Crescent revitalisation for many years. She gave her heart and soul to the project and was a key part of the project team, attracting significant funding, sponsorship and partnerships."

Gina Bradbury Fox from The Outdoor Guide knew Liz for more than a decade. Remembering her friend and work colleague Gina added: “From the moment I met Liz over ten years ago, I knew she was a woman after my own heart and a force to be reckoned with.

“More recently we had started plotting some post Covid adventures which would have cemented our friendship and working relationship even further.

"She was an integral part of The Outdoor Guide Foundation and developing a project with her much-loved Peak District National Park. We have collectively lost someone who was a genuinely lovely person with so much left to give and we shall miss her.”

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