Brentwood peace campaigner loses her battle with cancer

Kathy Piper

Kathy Piper - Credit: Archant

A peace campaigner who fought her own struggles with osteoporosis and arthritis to work across the world has died at the age of 75.

Kathy Piper, who until recently had been chairman of Brentwood Justice and Peace Commission, died from cancer on February 26, and friends and family have paid tribute to her.

Her family said in a statement: “She was a dynamic and inspiring woman and a warm and loving mum. We were proud of her spirit, idealism and expertise – and it is hard to comprehend that someone so full of life is no longer with us.”


Born in 1937, she married Chris and moved to Wanstead in the early 1980s.

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The couple had three children and went on to become grandparents to four.

She was drawn to social justice and joined the Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR).

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Her work with the organisation took her to war-torn regions of Central America through the 1970s and 1980s.

At the time, she was also involved in the creation of Catholic social justice group the National Justice and Peace Network.

In the early 1990s she played a key role in bringing left-wing philosopher Noam Chomsky over to lecture for CIIR.

Described as “a lifelong Socialist” by friends, she brought liberation theology to east London by playing host to Latin American visitors at her home.

After leaving CIIR, Kathy became chairman of Brentwood Justice and Peace Commission for almost 20 years.

She set up working groups on issues including the Troubles in Northern Ireland and refugees.

Friend Paul Donovan worked in the group with Kathy, and together they set up the Association for Relief in crisis areas to raise awareness and money for projects in Peru, India, Kenya and elsewhere.

Paul said: “Kathy will be sadly missed. She was a quiet inspiration to so many people.

“Her lifelong bravery when faced with physical challenges and determination to make a better life for the mass of people who inhabit this planet.

“She was also a proud mother and grandmother to John, Clare, Lucy and Ella.

“She will though now go to be reunited with her beloved Chris.”

Kathy’s funeral was on Wednesday at Our Lady of Lourdes, Wanstead.

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