Bill Hetherington: Sixty years of activism

Blog by Albert Beale
PHOTO: Peace Pledge Union

Many of you will have encountered Bill Hetherington during your peace movement campaigning; I'm sorry to have to tell you that he died on Sunday night (5 November '23), having been ill for some time.

Those of you who've had a long involvement with British peace organisations will have known him for a long while - his activism goes back around 60 years.

He was a direct actionist in Britain in the 1960s, and has been involved in pacifist activism ever since. Internationally, he was involved in an anti-nuclear convoy to Greece in the 1960s; and he was, I believe, the only person from any country to take part in every single one of the 11 International Nonviolent Marches for Demilitarisation which took place around Europe ("East" as well as "West") from 1976 to 1986. These events involved him in being detained by various countries' police forces over the years (to add to his many entanglements with the British authorities too of course, which entailed some time behind bars).

A main part of his work in recent decades was in the PPU, and in its international network (WRI); but he worked with many other peace organisations over the years. He was a walking encyclopaedia of the history of much of the pacifist movement, and an irreplaceable resource at the the PPU; he also performed crucial roles with Peace News Trustees (parent company of Peace News and of Housmans Bookshop), landlords of the Kings Cross building which has housed many peace organisations over the years.

If you're in touch with older members of your NfP member organisation who might not be directly on the NfP's current circulation list, do please pass on this news.

Topics: Radical lives