Bruce Kent, a fighter for a better world

Thursday, 30th June

BRUCE KENT 1

Bruce Kent

• FOLLOWING Rebecca Johnson’s worthy tribute to Bruce Kent, I would like to add my own few words.

I first met Bruce in the 1970s, on account of his involvement with the Catholic peace organisation Pax Christi, which rented office space in the Peace News building at King’s Cross where I worked. Valerie Flessati, years later to become Bruce’s wife, then worked in the Pax Christi office.

Since I am as committed an atheist as he was a committed Christian, we sometimes sparred with one another over such matters, though generally jovially. I still have one or two of the postcards he sent, which often included his “blessings”…

But despite our fundamental philosophical difference, he always demonstrated a belief, which I share, in working non-sectarianly with others over issues of common concern; he was frequently supportive of me in my areas of work.

His great belief in networking was shown by his involvement in the National Peace Council and the Network for Peace in this country and, internationally, in the International Peace Bureau.

And his time as Catholic chaplain of London university led to many peace group meetings being hosted at the chaplaincy in Gower Street.

We were both involved in the founding of Campaign Against Arms Trade back in the 1970s, and in the years since I’ve been proud to have shared a platform with him from time to time over various national and international peace-related issues.

What was most notable on such occasions was his unflinching positivity and (only rarely faltering) good humour, his willingness to take an unpopular stance if he felt it right, and his belief that – whatever the short-term prospects looked like – the struggle for a better world was always worthwhile.

As indeed it is; and Bruce’s demise has taken away one of the most committed and effective of such strugglers.

ALBERT BEALE, WC1

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