4th March saw about 150/200 people gathered on the north side of the Finsbury Park athletics track to plant a walnut tree in memory of Bruce Kent. In the spirit of Bruce himself it was a joyful if somewhat chaotic event bringing together numerous strands of his most varied life.
Kate Hudson there on behalf of CND head office, accompanied by Jeremy Corbyn. Bruce’s widow, Valerie Flessati, spoke on behalf of the Movement for Abolition of War along with a Keith from the Friends of Finsbury Park. Like Bruce himself they all managed to bring humour into the serious topics they were talking about. Pax Christi, London Catholic Worker and the London Peace Pagoda, the United Nations Association were but five organisations I recognised as being present after a quick survey of the crowd. The Diocese of Westminster Justice & Peace Commission was also represented. Mereid Hopwood, a Welsh language poet came all the way from her home country to deliver a poem she had composed just for the occasion.
That said it would perhaps be incorrect to describe it as a crowd as there was no ‘them and us’ as everyone was chatting as friends and all were invited to add soil as a collective team effort to plant the try.
Initially it had been announced that the tree to be planted would be grown by Jeremy Corbyn. Unfortunately, when pruning his olive tree Jeremy damaged the hornbeam he was growing for the purpose so once that has recovered it will be planted elsewhere in Finsbury Park. It seems somewhat ironic that the tree being grown to commemorate such a commensurate peace campaigner should be damaged by an olive branch
William Rhind, CCND Member