3 Dec 2012


Walking in Oxford Street with Geoffrey one day, all the traffic was cleared to let this Million Women Rise demonstration pass. It gave father and son an opportunity to discuss the imbalance that still exists between men and women in society.

I felt, if she could, Tanya would have been there. I'd bet a dollar somebody in that crowd had marched with Tanya once.

Oh the irony of the 'sexy' alluring female selling something on a poster behind them. I guess that's a point they also wanted to make by going down Oxford Street.

I think Tanya would not have agreed that all violence towards women is all men's fault but she would put sisterhood first as the means to tackle it though she felt from her own experience that the absence of fathers wasn't an ideal to be encouraged.

Tanya and I spent a lot of time together on various peaceful actions starting with Erin Pizzey taking us to Waitrose to protest at Maggie Thatcher snatching our free school milk. I'm sure she was more generous than I was when she found our unused but not unwanted toys and clothes had disappeared in carrier bags to Chiswick Women's Aid. 

Tanya was always more sensitive and more aware about issues before I was. I recall her sixth-form friends conducting a post-mortem of a gay rights meeting around our kitchen table, my first inkling that she was wrestling with coming out but also raising my awareness that some of my friends were gay too.

Something we had in common and which she was an inspiration to her friends for was dragging them into running marathons and fun-runs to end hunger. Her team, it would be fair to say, did not have the typical distance-runner's physique yet they made up for speed with grit. They tackled the mockers we often heard out on training runs head-on by calling their team "World Rhinos".

Tanya had many of her own causes. She was passionate about wildlife as an eight year old and she later volunteered at the PDSA. As Tanya and I spent a long time living in separate countries, there are many things I know little about. During my time abroad I know she was very active with the Greenham Common women's peace movement. It would be lovely to hear more on that. Perhaps I should ask MI5 for her file? - Nat.

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