Peace campaigner and CND veteran Bruce Kent in return visit to Fenland
PEACE campaigner and CND vice chairman Bruce Kent will be coming to Wisbech on Sunday - 25 years after he first visited the town.
He will be giving a talk organised by the Wisbech Interfaith Forum which also arranged his 1986 appearance - at the height of the Cruise missile campaign and massive demonstrations at the Molesworth airbase, in Cambridgeshire.
At the time he was in a debate with the then Conservative Parliamentary candidate Malcom Moss on the merits of locating the Cruise missiles on air bases in the area. Held at the Isle College, the debate attracted a packed house and Mr Moss went on to serve the area as MP.
A quarter of a century on and Mr Kent said that the issue of nuclear weapons appeared to be slipping from the public consciousness.
“I was at a rally recently and maybe one banner in 200 mentioned the Trident missile. It seems obvious that at a time of spending cuts, the �70 billion being spent on a new range of these nuclear missiles should be scrapped,” he said.
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Now 82-years-old, Mr Kent has lost none of his passion and enthusiasm for world peace.
He led the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) throughout the 1980s, when he served as general secretary and chair.
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At the height of the anti-nuclear campaign, demonstrators established peace camps at the Greenham Common base, Berkshire, as well as Molesworth.
Mr Kent, who was also previously a Catholic priest, said another major difference since he last came to Wisbech was the number of nuclear-armed countries around the world.
“There were five, and there are now nine countries and there is the worry that non-state agencies will get hold of them,” he said.
This month also marks 25 years since the nuclear reactor disaster at Chernobyl - and now the Japanese Fukushima plant is at the centre of the news following the recent earthquake and tsunami which devastated parts of the country.
“I am not a nuclear energy expert - but we are leaving lethal quantities of nuclear waste for future generations,” he said.
“There has to be a better way,” he added.
Although not directly connected to Norfolk or The Fens, Mr Kent said he had fond memories of Hunstanton where his family took holidays when he was a child.
During two years with the Royal Tank Regiment he was also in Norfolk at the MoD Stanta training ground between Watton and Thetford.
The veteran peace activist will address a public meeting at the Rosmini centre, Queens Road, on Sunday from 2pm and admission is free.