The Body Shop was a huge success story deeply rooted in Brighton and Sussex for nearly half a century and the news that it has gone into administration is a big blow to the high street.

Dame Anita Roddick’s cosmetics company set its own agenda so that it was a force for good.

Now, despite thousands of jobs being at risk, the business will be remembered for being at the forefront of corporate activism.

In 1976, The Body Shop was just a little green shop on Kensington Gardens in Brighton's North Laine. Now, where the first store once stood is a blue plaque unveiled by Dame Anita Roddick’s family in 2008.

The Argus: Dame Anita Roddick at The Body Shop in 1976Dame Anita Roddick at The Body Shop in 1976

That plaque reminds passers-by of the pioneering activism that Dame Anita and The Body Shop still stands for.

The store still has its imprint on the city and in Sussex. The Body Shop has sites in North Street, George Street in Hove and across the county in Worthing, Horsham, Chichester, Hastings, Eastbourne and Crawley.

From saving whales with Greenpeace in 1986 to championing animal friendly beauty products, the business has become a success story for what activism in business can look like.

The Argus: Justine Roddick, Vida Zandnia, Gordon Roddick and Samantha RoddickJustine Roddick, Vida Zandnia, Gordon Roddick and Samantha Roddick (Image: Argus Archive)

The Body Shop's campaigns were not limited to the environment. In 1997, it led a self-esteem campaign to counteract the expectation of women to look like supermodels and more recently highlighted the vulnerability of women through sex trafficking at a time when the practice was not making big headlines.

From Brighton the brand simply grew and grew. The went on to operate at around 2,500 locations in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Despite this, the company still maintains a global office in Littlehampton just a stone’s throw from where Dame Anita grew up.

The Argus: A blue plaque for Dame Anita Roddick in Kensington GardensA blue plaque for Dame Anita Roddick in Kensington Gardens (Image: Argus Archive)

The business was sold to L'Oréal in 2006 for £652 million, a decision which attracted criticism due to their links to animal testing.

However, the business remained a steadfast part of the high street until it went into administration last week.

The future for the brand remains uncertain now, but Dame Anita Roddick and The Body Shop’s mark on Sussex will still remain well into the future.

She died in September 2007 aged 64, of a brain haemorrhage. The then-prime minister Gordon Brown paid tribute, calling her "one of the country's true pioneers" and an inspiration to businesswomen.

He said: "She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause."

Hove MP Peter Kyle knew Anita and husband Gordon from his teens working at Body Shop in Littlehampton. He said she had encouraged him to go to university and become an aid worker.

He previously said: "Anita wasn't easy, she was tough. I've never met anyone as single-minded and ruthless in pursuit of social justice. When campaigns didn't deliver results she could be pretty brutal to be around, but mostly she was hugely fun and had a streak of genius that made her unignorable.

"And, of course, she was often bonkers. I remember her shutting the whole Littlehampton operation down one sunny Friday afternoon and we all trundled off to Burpham to play rounders. "