Monday 8 June 2009

Peter Townsend - a tribute

For six decades Peter Townsend campaigned against poverty, wrote volumes of academic work, virtually invented the idea of relative poverty, and worked enthusiastically to support causes he strongly believed in.
Even at the age of 81, his enthusiasm for his work was undimmed. Fabian vice-president and veteran anti-campaigner Professor Peter Townsend, who died yesterday, had earlier this year contributed to a new Fabian pamphlet, and conference, From Workhouse to Welfare.
Peter had an impressive academic career at the LSE, Bristol University and Essex University, and Policy Press is about to publish The Peter Townsend reader, charting his contributions over his distinguished career.
But he balanced his academic interests with practical action. He was a founding member of the Child Poverty Action Group, and was co-founder of the Disability Alliance.
Peter had an international vision of change, and also worked in various roles at the UN, Unesco, World Health Organisation and Unicef.
He has served on many government committees and has been vice-president of the Fabian Society since 1989.
Hitting his 80th birthday last year did not seem to have slowed him down, and Peter continued to enthusiastically contribute to the Fabian Society's work, and always had time to talk.

Read Peter Townsend's argument for a review of the World Bank's role here, and his contribution to the From Workhouse to Welfare pamphlet here.

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