1 June 2024Comment

Long-time peace campaigner who helped George Blake escape from Wormwood Scrubs

Anne Randle was one of the four people who, in 1966, helped Soviet spy George Blake escape from Wormwood Scrubs prison and flee to Russia.

As a young woman, Anne Parr was active in the Committee of 100 which organised mass civil disobedience against nuclear weapons, starting in February 1961. This is where she met Michael Randle, the man who became her partner and husband for 61 years and the father of her two children, Sean and Gavin.

Michael also helped Blake to escape, along…

1 June 2024Comment

Cartoonist and peace campaigner with a keen sense of the absurd

My mum Sarah Guthrie was born in Lancashire to Neville Evans, an oil broker, and his wife, Barbara (née Bruce). At 17, she dropped out of school in South West London and went to study at the Alliance Française in Paris. She returned to London to work at Harper’s Bazaar magazine and then at an early listings magazine.

In 1966, with two colleagues at the magazine, she set up London’s first lunchtime theatre – ‘Theatrescope Original Lunch Hour Plays’ – which is where…

1 December 2023Comment

Pacifist imprisoned for 'incitement to disaffection', renowned for his knowledge of peace movement history

Bill Hetherington, who was at the centre of pacifist activism in the UK for more than half a century, has died at the age of 89, after playing key roles in the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) and in War Resisters’ International, of which the PPU is the British section.

Bill took part in many nonviolent direct actions from the 1960s onwards, at military bases and events.

He spent time in prison in 1975 as one of the BWNIC 14, people tried for ‘incitement to disaffection’ for handing…

1 December 2023Comment

'Force of nature' peace campaigner who served eleven prison sentences

Pat Arrowsmith was a force of nature. Among her many contributions to peace and justice, Pat took part in a nonviolent ‘interposition’ delegation to Indochina during the Vietnam War. The group tried to enter North Vietnam to share the dangers of bombing (they got to Cambodia and also protested at a US base in Thailand). This experience later inspired her to call together the Gulf Peace Team (GPT) in 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The GPT brought 73 peace activists from 15…

1 October 2023Comment

Gentle but tireless campaigner for peace and justice

In November 2006, after a blockade at Faslane, the nuclear missile submarine base in Scotland, I found myself sharing a cell with a gentle, erudite, bearded American called Brian Larkin. We talked pacifism, politics, and theology, and shared songs most of that night….

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, and growing up during the Vietnam War, Brian came to St Andrews university in Scotland in the late 1970s to study theology. There, he met Lindsay, a feminist and a Peace News reader…

1 August 2023Comment

Former nuclear war planner who leaked the Pentagon Papers and joined the peace movement

Kate Hudson:

We were saddened to hear of the death of whistleblower and peace campaigner Daniel Ellsberg, who died last Friday, aged 92. Daniel was a staunch anti-nuclear campaigner as well as a powerful voice for peace over many decades.

An expert in nuclear weapons planning, Ellsberg was perhaps most famous for his role in leaking 7,000 pages of classified military files in 1971, while working as an analyst for the Rand Corporation.

The Pentagon Papers revealed for the first…

1 August 2023Comment

Iron-willed writer and activist who played key role in the first wave of British anti-nuclear protest

April Carter’s father was an engineer with the British colonial service and April spent the first 10 years of her life in East Africa. Returning to the UK in 1947, April was enrolled at a public school in Gloucestershire, not far from the family home in Cheltenham. The staff at the school recognised April’s outstanding intellectual abilities and fast-streamed her through the English secondary school examination system – resulting in her being offered a place at Oxford university. Deciding…

1 June 2023Comment

Conscientious objector who formed the Vegan Organic Network

A supporter of Peace News from the 1950s, my husband David Graham died peacefully at home in April, aged 91.

From the time he was called up for National Service and decided to be a Conscientious Objector (CO), David committed himself to working for peace and social justice. After a year in prison in 1955 for being a CO, where he read about Gandhi, David decided to go to India to meet Vinoba Bhave, Gandhi’s spiritual successor.

David and his friend Ian Dixon wanted to…

8 December 2022Comment

Conscientious objector, chair of Scott Bader and winner of International Peace Award

In October 2014, Second World War conscientious objector Godric Bader was awarded the Gandhi Foundation’s International Peace Award, in recognition of the alternative business model he and his family created for their industrial manufacturing company, the Scott Bader Commonwealth.

Scott Bader has been and continues to be a successful industrial manufacturing company. Being owned by its workers did not stop it reaching sales of £270mn in 2021 (with gross profits of £76mn).

1 December 2022Comment

Quaker, diver and WW2 conscientious objector

Don Sutherland, Quaker, pacifist, conscientious objector from 1939 and a campaigner on human rights issues, died peacefully at his home in Lincoln aged 103.

Born in Coventry, Don was a member, along with Roy Broadbent (father of the actor Jim Broadbent), of the farming community at Holton-cum-Bickering and later at Bleasby, in Lincolnshire, during the Second World War.

When Ian Sharp’s play Conchies, about these pacifist communities, opened in 2017 at the Broadbent…

1 August 2022Comment

Researcher and activist who spent 40 years holding international mining companies accountable

Vegan before it became fashionable, Roger Moody was a Peace News co-editor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He went on to become a mining researcher and activist. For over 40 years, he was crucial to the process of building global alliances in the struggle to hold multinational mining companies accountable for the social and ecological consequences of their activities.

One of Roger’s endearing, if frustrating, characteristics, was his unwillingness to reveal his age: he was…

1 August 2022Comment

Greenham veteran who became the first out trans man to stand for Parliament

My friend Charlie died aged 56 of an incurable hereditary lung condition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Charlie was kind, thoughtful, loved a laugh and could always be relied upon to go out for a curry and a beer or two, health permitting.

Charlie was born in London in 1965 to a Colombian mother and a father with Hungarian heritage. He later embraced the Colombian heritage of his mother, Marta Lombard, an artist. He visited relatives in Bogotá, learned Spanish and became the proud…

1 August 2022Feature

Catholic priest who became chair of CND

At the funeral mass in thanksgiving for Bruce’s life, Valerie Flessati, his widow, concluded her tribute with these words: ‘What a man! What a voice! What a friend! What a lot of love! We give profound thanks.’

Messages, memories and photographs spanning 70 years have poured in from around the world as people share their stories: ‘Bruce baptised my child.’ ‘Bruce shared a sandwich with me in Euston Station.’ ‘Bruce was only the second person to visit me in prison.’ ‘Bruce spoke at my…

1 August 2022Comment

Hard-line communist who vigiled against apartheid and travelled to Iraq as a 'human shield'

Eric was a passionate campaigner for peace, justice and human rights who was active until the last weeks of his life.

Born in Syria and partly educated in Canada, Eric was a teacher by profession. He often got into trouble for his encouragement of political thinking in the classroom and was fired on more than one occasion.

PN news editor David Polden first met Eric in the 1970s when they were both supply teachers in a primary school in Hackney. Eric was always a hard-…

1 June 2022Comment

Life-long socialist and campaigner

I got to know Bunny during Kick Nuclear’s ‘Remember Fukushima: No to Nuclear Power in the UK’ weekly Friday vigils outside the Japanese embassy which began in August 2012. (They are now twice-monthly.)

Bunny was a regular participant in this vigil from 2013 to 2021. He sat on a chair by the embassy entrance in all weathers giving leaflets to embassy visitors and passers-by. Towards the end of 2021, he decided the winter weather was getting too much for him, but said he would return in…