Len W Gibson: 1919-2007

IssueMarch 2007
Comment by John L Gibson

Many older readers will remember Len from his work from 1962 through to 1988 running the Film Van, a vehicle he drove around the UK during the summer months, appearing at showgrounds, market squares and many other locations around the country, where he would show anti-war films from the back of the van in the open air, campaigning for peace against war and violence. While showing the films, he would make peace books, leaflets and other material available, such as Peace News, providing support for organisations such as the PPU, WRI, CND, FOR and CAAT.

Always a man of strong principles Len was imprisoned during World War Two as a conscientious objector.

Ahead of his time

In the late 1950s he settled at The Brotherhood Church, at Stapleton, near Pontefract in Yorkshire. At Stapleton he married Hilda, and together they spent life living as close to the land as possible, growing much of their own food using organic methods, long before it was fashionable to do so! Len carried out his trade as a motor engineer, repairing and maintaining agricultural vehicles and cars for local folk in Yorkshire.

With Hilda, Len established an annual gathering on the first Sunday each July at the Brotherhood Church that was known as the Strawberry Tea. An event that attracted between one and two hundred people from far and wide, mainly peace activists, who would enjoy the hospitality that Len and Hilda provided. It was a gettogether that many people found inspiring and an opportunity to network with other peace activists and to recharge batteries for the campaigning ahead.

Peace printer

In later life, when Len was unable to continue his motor work, he busied himself running Peaceprint, producing and printing peace literature for the Brotherhood Church and other groups such as the local branch of CND.

Unfortunately, the last few years of Len's life were blighted by Parkinson's disease, which he struggled with until the end finally came.

Len leaves behind his wife Hilda - who has cared for him throughout his battle with Parkinson's - and their three children, John, Bracken and Janet, and his granddaughter Katie.

His funeral was held at the Brotherhood Church at Stapleton.

Topics: Radical lives
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