We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Bruce Kent, a man of great integrity, high principles and a staunch campaigner for world peace. He passed away on 8 June aged 92.
Bruce was a man of immense compassion with an unshakeable faith in the essential goodness of human beings and one who retained his hope in humanity even throughout the most dangerous years of Cold War confrontation when the administrations of US President Reagan and PM Margaret Thatcher were ratcheting up the arms race in the 1980s.
Bruce Kent first came to public attention as general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1980, when he took up the position right at the start of the first Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher. He was the quietly calm and reasoned proponent of peace who became a figurehead of opposition to the Government’s Trident missile programme. In that decade of acute political tensions both within the UK and globally, Bruce provided a voice of sanity that challenged the Cold War orthodoxy and militarism. CND rose to become a truly mass organisation with Bruce Kent at the head of it.
As a lifelong campaigner for global peace and reconciliation between peoples, Bruce was a natural ally of the Kurds and he became a friend of many within the growing Kurdish refugee community of North London, which was the area where Bruce Kent himself had his home.
Peace in Kurdistan is proud that Bruce Kent was one of its patrons and we put on record our thanks for his decades-long solidarity and the generosity of his consistent support for our campaigns and activities over the years. He regularly accepted invitations to speak at events, sign petitions, join delegations and attend rallies. We pay tribute to his memory and mourn the loss of a true friend of the Kurds and one of the kindest of human beings.
A leading figure of Pax Christi, the Catholic peace movement, Bruce remained an active campaigner right up until his final days and will be greatly missed by all who knew him and stood alongside him in the struggle for peace and a better world.
We send our deepest condolences to Bruce’s family and friends, in particular his wife, Valerie, whom he married late in life after he gave up being a Catholic priest, and his sister, Rosemary.
Estella Schmid and David Morgan
On behalf of Peace in Kurdistan
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Maggie Cook, UNISON women activist; Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Adviser; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.