My friend John Lloyd, who has died aged 84, was a key political activist in campaigns of the last 50 years. A modest and gentle person, he worked away in the background while others took centre stage.
In the Troops Out Movement and other Irish campaigns of the 1970s and 80s, John organised demonstrations, conferences, pickets and delegations to Ireland. He went up and down Fleet Street handing in press releases. Latterly he has been a familiar figure in Trump mask and orange jumpsuit, protesting outside the Houses of Parliament against British and US policy in the Middle East, and demanding the closure of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp.
He chaired the Wandsworth Stop the War Coalition and supported the Free Julian Assange campaign. On Friday nights he handed out food to homeless people with the group Charity Begins at Home outside St Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square.
“He was so dedicated to everything he did – he did nothing by half-measures,” said his sister Connie.
Born and brought up in Rhymney, South Wales, John was the third of four children born to William Daniel Lloyd, a miner, and Sarah (nee Davies), who worked as a housekeeper. His nephew, Andrew, remembers John’s fascination with nature, and how he would teach his nephews and nieces about animals and insects as they walked on Rhymney common.
John attended the Lawn grammar school in Rhymney before going on to Chelsea College of Art in London in 1959. He remained in London for the rest of his life, but stayed close to his Welsh family, who knew him by his second name, Norman.
He became a primary school teacher at Barrow Hill school in St John’s Wood, north London, and is described by his former colleague Diana Binstead as “the most brilliant teacher I ever met – his classroom was spectacular”. He left teaching in the mid-70s and became a graphic designer in a government department, devoting his spare time to numerous causes.
Away from politics, John loved classical music and art, and attended adult education courses in philosophy and art history at the Mary Ward Centre and Morley College, both in central London. He lived in a small flat on the World’s End council estate in Chelsea with a magnificent view of the River Thames. He was kind and generous to family and friends, including visiting Joan Gabriel, a veteran of the British Peace Committee, over many months when she was terminally ill.
He is survived by Connie and seven nephews and nieces.