Memories of peace activist and CND chief Bruce Kent

It was a sad day but a great celebration at the funeral last week of peace activist Bruce Kent.

Bruce died last month at the age of 92.

His life was one of witness and activism in the cause of justice and peace.

People came from far and wide to his parish church of St Melitus in Haringey to say goodbye. (Westminster Cathedral had been offered but Bruce was essentially a man of the people).

He was a Catholic priest for many years before leaving to pursue his peace work outside.

In 1988, he married Valerie Flessati – his wife and collaborator for more than 30 years.

Bruce was deeply involved in the peace movement, becoming secretary general and later chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

He was also vice president of the Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi.

Bruce spoke out against the siting of nuclear missiles on Greenham Common in the 1980s.

He was steadfast over decades in opposing nuclear weapons and war.

One of the last times he came to Wanstead was for the funeral in 2018 of local Greenham Common peace activist Sarah Hipperson.

Sarah and Bruce shared a deep moral repelence at weapons that could destroy the world several times over.

The early noughties were a busy time for Bruce, seeing him constantly opposing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He was in Wanstead at this time as well, speaking out at events organised by local group, Peace and Justice in East London.

Bruce was also active in support of prisoners, pursuing the cause of many who had been wrongly incarcerated.

A prison visitor and advocate with the authorities.

He also supported a man, who was put under a control order in the days of the war on terror.

A Labour Party supporter, Bruce stood for the Parliamentary seat of Oxford West and Abingdon, which he unfortunately lost.

He was also a strong supporter of his constituency MP Jeremy Corbyn.

Jeremy was among those attending the funeral.

The funeral was a sad but joyous occasion.

Friends and family came together to celebrate a life well lived.

Bruce will be missed but his legacy lives on in the peace movement.

Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See paulfdonovan.blogspot.com

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