A remarkable woman and campaigner: Hetty Bower (1905-2013)
They say you should never meet your heroes. But I’m honoured to have met mine, and it is an experience I will never forget.
I shared a panel with Hetty Bower at Labour Party conference this year, and came away from the weekend feeling deeply moved and challenged, as a woman, as a campaigner, as a Labour member, as an activist.
Hetty spoke movingly of post-war poverty, of life before the welfare state; a life that, at 107, she remembered very well.
She spoke of days where women had to choose between paying for food, or seeing the doctor. She feared that as a country, we were heading back into those dark and unimaginable times.
From the battle of Cable Street in 1936, to reminding Ed Miliband what his party stood for, Hetty was so sure and steadfast in her passion for what is right and just and fair. A Labour member since the age of 17, she told Ed to his face, to remember the principles that the Labour Party was founded upon, the principles that she campaigned for for over 90 years.
Hetty marched against the First World War, against the invasion of Iraq, against the closure of Whittingham hospital. She marched in the wind and the rain, for everything that she believed in. She is a reminder to me, that no protest is ever wasted. That we must raise our voices wherever and whenever we can.
In her own words:
“We may not win by protesting.
But if we don’t protest, we will lose.
If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.”
Rest in peace Hetty, you live on in all who knew you. I told you at Labour Party conference that I wanted to be you when I grow up. You laughed and laughed, and told me to keep fighting for what I believe in. And I will. I may not make it to 108, but I will protest until I die.
The world is a slightly less just place, with the loss of such a remarkable woman and campaigner.
Photos: The Daily Mirror.
Remarkable woman, rip Hetty the fight will go on
Amazing woman with true courage of conviction. RIP Hetty
Jack, I think you were so fortunate to get to meet and speak with a hero. I also think she passed some of her spirit magic to you and you wear it well!!!!!!
Rip Hetty, we witnessed and will carry on in your steps.
Very well said Jack, far better to take the chance through protest than to remain silent where there is no chance at all……R.I.P
How wonderful you got the chance to meet her before she left us.
RIP Hetty,Bower, a truly remarkable woman.
An poignant an eloquent tribute to a remarkable woman. I hope this gets published elsewhere.
I think she just passed the baton to you Jack….
I meant a poignant and eloquent tribute. Sorry shouldn’t attempt responses using my blackberry.
That was really quite moving x
Well said Jack, very moving xx
Reblogged this on Nick Thiwerspoon's Rumbles.
A very moving tribute, thank you, Jack.
beautifully written and heartfelt. RIP Hetty Bower. Let’s keep her fight going.
A moving tribute to an amazing and wonderful lady, but in relation to her opposition to WW1, she would have been about eight.
Moving and beautifully-written tribute.
RIP Hetty Bower… I’ve saved that inspiring quote of hers.
Bless you hetty,I hope where ever you are ,you ,your beloved Reg and your dear friend Laurie Green are together still campaigning
This was a really heartfelt post Jack, what an amazing woman.
I hope you don’t mind but re-blogged on Berkhamsted and Tring Labour website.
Reblogged this on HUMAN RIGHTS & THE SIEGE OF BRITAIN POLITICAL JOURNAL.
The more I read the more I like you