David Lane: 21 February 1934 – 16 September 2014

IssueFebruary 2015 - March 2015
Comment by Moyra Jean, Ian Dixon

David Lane, lifelong pacifist and peace activist, died in September at the age of 80 after a long, and latterly very sad, struggle with Parkinson’s.

David met his wife, Nancy, when they were both members of PYAG (Pacifist Youth Action Group) and where they were also to meet Ian Dixon, currently chair of Housmans Bookshop and Peace News Trustees. David and Ian were both conscientious objectors and served as porters at The Royal Free Hospital in London from 1952-1955.

David’s statement of objection to the London Conscientious Objectors’ tribunal as an 18-year-old was so quietly impressive that they did not call his witnesses and granted him immediate conditional exemption. His statement was printed in a London newspaper.

David was a member of the anti-nuclear direct action ‘Committee of 100’, as well as a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). He was a ‘soap box’ speaker for PYAG at Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner, and at other rallies; a seller of Peace News; and an activist for animal rights and the Vegan Society.

He had been a librarian, but spent most of his working life as a bookseller in London and then in Nottingham running Concord Books which specialised in peace issues and vegetarianism. He retained a keen interest in books and publishing.

David distributed at least 40 copies of Peace News regularly, at one stage enthusiastically on the streets of Leicester, as well as to bookshops, cafes and regular customers.

With Bruce Kent, David was proud to have been part of the three-week Atomic Mirror Pilgrimage around nuclear sites in the UK in 1996. He also went with Bruce to an international peace conference in Brussels.

As a young man, David had been a runner with Highgate Harriers, and a very keen cyclist. Nancy and David loved walking and the countryside in general, but particularly loved the Lake District. He was not a religious man, but always found like-minded people among the Society of Friends, and when he and Nancy moved to Derbyshire he was also involved with the Civic Society and The U3A, as well as, of course, CND.

His nephews remember him as loads of fun, and activists in Nottingham and Leicester learned from his dynamic approach to campaigning.

David was a lovely, very gentle gentleman, and an activist to beyond his end: his brain and spinal cord are now in the Brain Bank of the Parkinson’s Society in London.

Topics: Radical lives
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