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March 27, 2021 12:54 PM
By Suzanne

Tony Greaves

We are tremendously shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Lord Tony Greaves.

So much can be said from the Liberal Democrat family about Tony, but this is our heartfelt tribute.

He was the speaker at our first AGM back in 2013, giving us a lot of encouragement. This is what we wrote to our members afterwards.

"Basing his speech on his experience of the dispersal of immigrants to the Lancashire area during the 1980s with all its problems and opportunities, Tony Greaves spoke of the injustices and lack of respect for immigrants and his suggestions for ways of improving a very flawed immigration system. He and his attentive audience were shocked by the current `Go home' vans and posters campaign organised by the Home Office and agreed that our party cannot tolerate such inhumane gestures. Lord Greaves congratulated LD4SOS on its progress to date and encouraged us to continue the good work of supporting the asylum cause, working with other organisations, and working to improve our inefficient, inhumane, and expensive asylum system."

Even though asylum and refugee issues were not his portfolio he often raised issues in the House of Lords, such as the importance of not being locked out of learning English, the Citizens of the World Choir, and Syrian Refugees. This is an extract from Hansard in 2017.

"When the Government announced their vulnerable persons resettlement scheme of people from Syria, the leader of the council and I-I declare my interest as deputy leader-immediately said, "Right, we will take as many as we reasonably can. We will act as the host authority for the district". We now have 20 families, who came in two lots, who are now suffering the climatic conditions of the Lancashire Pennines-for their sins-and who are being looked after and supported in our part of the world. We are very pleased to do it. We will take more if the Government will only bring more people over."

All of his words above are as relevant today, if not more so, than they were when first spoken.

He was a constant support, giving some of us encouragement to carry on what we were doing. He not only stepped in a few times to look after our stall at the Federal Conference in September 2019 (the last 'real' one) when nature suddenly called, and, never one to avoid controversy, declared more than once that we had the best stall at Conference, despite the award to others!

We will miss him dreadfully, are thankful for his contributions and encouragement, and continue to campaign in true Liberal tradition of fighting for human rights, and giving a voice to the voiceless.