Peggie Preston: A Life for Peace
Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 24th November, 2007
I was sad to learn of the death earlier this week of Peggie Preston, veteran peace campaigner, at the age of 84. We first met in the Quaker Meeting in Saigon in the summer of 1969, when I was a teenage reporter covering the Vietnam War, and she was staying out at Phu Mi, working with various Buddhist anti-government activists as well as with children in need of care. She was one of those people who follow the world’s crises round, as indeed some journalists do, but in her case she was always activating for peace, treating the physically or emotionally wounded, and helping to publicise injustice. Before Vietnam, she had been in South Africa, working in the huge black Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, where she had to deal with some of the injured from the Sharpeville massacre. More recently, she was in Iraq during the last years of Saddam Hussein. She resigned from her longstanding membership of the Labour Party when Tony Blair joined George Bush in invading that country. Though she suffered a lot of pain in her legs and found getting around increasingly difficult in her old age, she could still be stirred from her little council flat in Wild Street, Covent Garden, to promote causes she believed in, including speaking in defence of Brian Haw, whose ongoing demonstration in Parliament Square has been such a pain to the government, and Palestine.