About 200 people attended the Colin Ward memorial/celebration meeting at Conway Hall last Saturday. The audience comprised a mixture of grizzled activists (but enough about me), former New Society hacks, professional colleagues of Colin's from his assorted planning and environmental education jobs and people once press-ganged into writing articles for Anarchy. There were even some young people.
Ken Worpole - organiser in chief - ran things smoothly, subtly dropping a note on the podium when speakers began to go on a bit. Worpole himself described Colin's message as a challenge for the political right and the left, and all described his positive thinking, his humour, his knowledge across so many disciplines and his ability to be the first to write about issues before the public even realised they were issues. An example here might be his writing on the international water crisis of which we are now all aware. Not bad for someone who left school at 15 with no qualifications.
The star of the show was Harriet Ward, wittily describing how she set out to win Colin's affections some 45 years ago, including offering him lifts home since she was "going that way", while noting that she lived in the exact opposite direction. Strangely she also happened to pass his door when he was coming out in the mornings to offer a lift again (having, she confessed, parked up the road waiting on him to appear).
The other star of the show was Colin himself, an extract from a two hour interview with the late Roger Deakin being shown. Colin talked about the early days of his involvement with the Freedom group. The whole DVD is available from Housmans bookshop.
Five Leaves - opportunists that we are - brought forward the release of a new edition of Colin Ward and Dennis Hardy's Goodnight Campers! A History of the British Holiday Camp and we made good inroads into the copies on sale. Copies are available from www.inpressbooks.co.uk/goodnight_campers_the_history_of_the_british_holiday_camp_dennis_hardy_colin_ward_i022041.asp
Thanks to all who spoke, attended, or donated to cover the cost of hiring Conway Hall for the afternoon.