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Obituary: Beatrice Smith: 24 July 1937 – 4 February 2018

Poet, author, hospital worker and socialist 'was never one to give up when things got tough'

In February, we lost our dear friend and comrade Beaty Smith after a prolonged period of failing health. Beaty was born in 1937 to a large working-class family in Garston, Liverpool, and her experience of growing up in 1940s Britain among intelligent, self-educated people informed her profound sense of social justice and lifelong adherence to the socialist cause.

Beaty worked in National Health hospitals all her life, first as a nurse and later as a ward sister. In Paris in 1968, she witnessed the historic events of the student uprising. She was a trade union activist all her working life and, having moved to Wales in the 1970s, became active in Plaid Cymru, championing greater devolution and Welsh language rights.

Beaty was a poet and author; her publications include Gasmasks and Garston, A Liverpool Childhood, a warm and characteristically-detailed account of working-class life in the first half of the 20th century.

Beaty was a longstanding, active and valued member of Cardiff’s socialist street choir Côr Cochion Caerdydd. She published an illustrated history of the choir’s first 20 years, Stand up and Sing, and took part in every recording made by the choir. Her political activity spanned many decades.

Never content to be a passive observer, Beaty was active in CND, Victory to the Miners, LGBT+ and Women’s Rights. After a solidarity tour of Palestine and Israel with Côr Cochion in 1994, she returned determined to work for justice for Palestinians and revisited Palestine on several peace delegations.

Beaty was never one to give up when things got tough or balk at taking action when it was needed. She was an intelligent, warm and extremely supportive friend and comrade and a true internationalist. Her life was an inspiration. We will miss her.

Topics: Radical Lives