The death in January of Neil Collins has left a gap in my own and many other peoples lives.
Knowing Neil and Who he knew.
Neil Collins was one of those individuals that though involved in many campaigning groups and organisations over the years, was not someone who wroteall that much.
He was very knowledgeable about many aspects of the early history of the Anarchist and the Peace movements. I learnt a lot about this history and homed much of my radical political thinking while having long chats with him.
Neil knew or had meet many of the people involved in Freedom Press and pacifist circles.
At one time he told me about meeting Lilian Wolfe who had been a suffragist, involved in Freedom, and street sold Peace News right up to her death at 96.
He also meet Fermin Rocker who was the son of Rudolf Rocker.
I first meet Neil in 1969 as we were both involved in the Peace Pledge Union [PPU ]. At one stage shortly afterwards I shared a house with him, his wifeTania, and others in Leytonstone. We were also involved in the E10 & E11 PPU
I was also though Neil that I first learnt about aspects of a Vegetarianlifestyle, and what it was to be an anti Zionist jew.
It was in the company of Neil, Tania, and the late John Hyatt, that I decided to become Vegetarian some 53 years ago.
It was only by chance that Neil became involved in the Peace Movement. It was during 1962 that he happened to be passing by American Embassy in GrosvenorSquare where a regular demonstration was taking place about nukiller bomb test. Having taken a leaflet he came back the next week, stated that we agreed with what was in it joined the protest and many subsequent ones
Following on from this he became actively involved in the London Committee of 100. For example in protests outside of the CBW [ Chemical and Biological Warfare ] establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
In the early 1960s he had been an accountant, but gave it up to train for social work. Though between the two he spent a while working upon the accounts of Housmans Bookshop. Thus he spent the rest of his life undertaking social Work in one form or another.
He was also on the board of Peace News for a while.
Other Campaigns and Other Activities.
Amongst other campaigning bodies Neil was also active in the following : –
– The Jewish Socialist Group.
– MERAG [ Middle East Research and Action Group ].
– Operation Namibia.
He was a part of the London support group on this project
– PARTIZANS [ People Against RTZ and Its’ Subsidiaries ].
He took part in some of the shareholders actions.
Perhaps the most impact upon society came from his interest in social issues and via his involvement in the local community.
His particular interests included both mental health and mixed race adoption issues.
He also co-run a local Woodcraft Folk group.
He was the first individual to win the London Compact Award because of his involvement in Voluntary Action Waltham Forest.
September 8th 1941 – January 20th 2023