Cult that's become a big issue for Anita

Mail on Sunday - London/October 28, 2001

Body Shop founder and green campaigner Anita Roddick, who is set to make 22 million if the sale of her ailing beauty products chain goes ahead, has a new hobbyhorse.

She has become the champion of an American-based guru who runs a worrying organisation called the Impersonal Enlightenment Fellowship.

Mother-of-two Anita, 59 last week, promotes the self-styled spiritual group in an interview in the latest edition of The Big Issue magazine, which she has guestedited and which her husband Gordon helped to found.

In the two-page article tagged Things Worth Fighting For, the eccentric Roddick quizzes heartthrob actor Linus Roach, son of Coronation Street star Bill, who was recruited into the group about six years ago after reading a book by Boston-bred founder Andrew Cohen, 46.

Also called FACE Friends of Andrew Cohen Everywhere the group has its London headquarters in Belsize Park and owns a 2million mansion set in 220 acres in Lenox, Massachusetts-But Ian Haworth, founder of the charitable Cult Information Centre, tells me the organisation has been exposed as one which alienates members from their families and friends.

He says: 'Anita Roddick should be exposing the practices of this group and warning people about it, not advertising it. She has not done her research properly and is both naive and seriously misguided. I am particularly worried that the article has appeared in The Big Issue, which aims to help the homeless and is read by a number of impressionable young people.' Anita, reconciled a year ago with her husband after he fell in love with leading PR girl Kelly Luchford, is currently out of the country, promoting her latest book which attacks 'globalisation.'

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