Remembering long-standing global justice activist John Strange

Remembering long-standing global justice activist John Strange

By: Joanna Ewart-James
Date: 29 June 2021
Campaigns: General

The Southeast London group of Global Justice Now this month lost founding member John, to a heart attack. He was enduring treatment for cancer but remained active in the group until the end, where his gentle, kind and positive outlook will be missed.

Former member Gill Peace recalled: “I first met John in the mid 90s when a group of us answered the call to set up an action group in Southeast London, meeting at a church in Forest Hill.” Soon after, John retired from a civil service career at Lewisham Council – an area that remained home from childhood until his passing.

John’s service of well over two decades’ committed activism leaves the group with plenty of fond memories spanning his willingness to get stuck in at demos, lobbying his MP, organising events, and most notably acting as the group’s membership Secretary and Treasurer until just a couple of years ago.

Amongst the many ways John worked to further global justice, he attended the Trade Justice Movement rally in Brighton in 2004, and the following year completed an all night vigil at Charing Cross. John’s passion for trade justice was also demonstrated through his enthusiasm for setting up and manning stalls throughout Lewisham and persuading passersby to sign petitions.

Nunhead Cemetery’s annual open day, which falls in May, is a welcome event for the group to speak and engage with a public who are generally sympathetic to the group’s campaigns and are keen to learn more. For many years John coordinated the rota of members, liaised with the organisers, and drove the banners, flyers, table and other stall kit to the site.

Fellow member Barbara Chandler recalled the delicious dishes he brought to the groups’ biannual social events and notes that “He was funny, and his commitment was wholehearted. I find it hard to be sad at the moment as I am filled with being glad I knew him.”

Despite remaining a steady, patient presence, John is remembered for keeping on top of political developments and “assiduously lobbying his MP in each and every one of WDM and then GJN’s campaigns” remembers current member Judith Barrett. Like many others, his passion for horticulture, music – in particular playing the viola, and his wood-turning skills stand out alongside his activism.

The funeral will be held in Lewisham. His family have asked that donations are made to LEWCAS (Lewisham Churches for Asylum Seekers) in memory of John’s belief that refugees must be welcomed and his support for Global Justice Now’s Bridges Not Borders campaign. John supported and volunteered with LEWCAS for many years.

If you would like to make a donation, the details are:

Bank: CAF Bank
Sort code: 40-52-40
Account No: 00010313