Jonathan Fryer

Peggie Preston: A Life for Peace

Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 24th November, 2007

peggie-preston.jpgI 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.

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3 Responses to “Peggie Preston: A Life for Peace”

  1. Alix said

    Hearing about people who have chosen to live their lives like this heartens me as to the condition of the species. One to celebrate indeed.

  2. Frankie said

    Yes – all respect to Peggie – I met her at Conway Hall campaigning for justice for the Palestinians and last saw her in Trafalgar Square protesting Israel’s horrendous attacks on Lebanon. She was made an honorary member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and I bet she was pissed off to miss the lobby of parliament yesterday. Demos won’t be the same without her presence.

  3. Len Aldis said

    Peggy will be a great loss to the movement for Peace and Justice. I first met Peggie when we were both involved with supporting Vietnam. That support continues to this day, but minus Peggie.
    She was a true internationalist, any people in struggle for their freedom and independence had Peggie on their side.
    In the coming demonstrations against the Iraq War and the danger of a war on Iran the figure of Peggie will be sadly missed.

    Len Aldis

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