Valerie Mellor was born in Birmingham on 21 November 1933, the daughter of Harry Mellor, a sheet metal worker, and his wife Gwendoline. She spent her childhood years in Birmingham, and never lost her Brummie accent. She was educated at King Edward’s High School for Girls, then studied geography at the University of Reading. She went on to obtain a postgraduate Certificate in Education at Birmingham University, before moving to Brighton to teach geography at Varndean School for Girls from 1956 to 1965. She then took up a lectureship in the Faculty of Education Studies at what was then Brighton Polytechnic (later University), specialising in geographical education. In 1981 she obtained an MA in Geography in Education from the University of London Institute of Education. She was a staunch supporter of the Brighton and Hove Geographical Association, and was a long-time chair, being made a life member on stepping down. In 1985 she purchased and restored the Old Post Office in Piddinghoe in the Ouse Valley, and retired as head of secondary education in 1990, thereafter taking up an active role in village life. She became interested in local history, and in 2000 she published her Portrait of Piddinghoe 1900-2000 which charted both the continuities and the changes to the life of the village. She not only lectured enthusiastically about the village but also wrote and directed small pageants where the villagers of today played the villagers of the past. Her collection of research notes and other local history material was donated to the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (AMS 7040/1-11). She died from cancer in May 2012 and had bequeathed monies to various organisations, including the Sussex Record Society. From this source the society has dedicated a research fund, called the Mellor Grant scheme.