Former CND Chair Dave Webb remembers Bruce
Bruce was such an amazing person, and his wit and sense of humanity will be sorely missed. I hope it doesn’t sound too presumptuous to say that Bruce was a friend of mine. Actually, he did treat almost everyone as a friend, but I had the opportunity to get to know him and Valerie despite living 200 miles away in Leeds in West Yorkshire. Bruce offered me the use of their couch during the weekends of CND Council, and I joined the list of the many visitors who have taken advantage of their splendid hospitality.
Bruce always wanted to know what was going on at Council and any gossip was always well received. Although he was a Vice-President and did attend Council when he could, he wasn’t always able to stay long and couldn’t speak with everyone he would have liked to.
In 2007 CND received an invitation from the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament to visit China. At that time, I was a Vice-Chair of CND, Kate Hudson was Chair and Bruce was a Vice-President and it was decided that we should accept the invitation and the three of us should travel to Beijing (I was included because I already had some academic connections in China).
While there we were well looked after and attended many meetings with various officials and university academics. It was, as you might expect, a very interesting and informative trip. We were able to exchange views on a range of topics. There were also sightseeing opportunities among which, of course, was a visit to the Great Wall. I also remember that Bruce insisted on visiting a Catholic Church, which he was able to do.
I also remember the three of us taking a walk in the park near our hotel. We were walking by the side of a lake and came across several vocal groups exercising their voices. We also noticed that there were a number of pedal boats on the lake and Bruce was keen to take one of them out and give Kate a ride. So, we found the boat hire place and Bruce and I took up positions as the powerhouse while Kate sat elegantly in the bow. It was hard work pedalling out on the lake for a while and I was pleased and a little relieved when Bruce said we should head for the shore. You can see the strain on our faces in the attached picture!
Bruce could always be relied on to brighten up a meeting or demonstration, which is why he was asked to so many, and he always came when he could. He was always willing to participate. I remember that some 20 odd years ago or so, he took part in a 90-mile peace walk from Menwith Hill to Fylingdales (the two US bases in North Yorkshire) – not a trivial journey by any means.
There are so many memories of Bruce that will stay with me for many years and the memories that all who met him have, will keep inspiring us all to do whatever we can to get to the nuclear free country, the nuclear free world, that Bruce did so much to achieve.
Dave Webb, June 2022