Baroness Brenda Dean 1943 - 2018

Brenda Dean died suddenly last week at the age of 74, and many in Christians on the Left will miss her. While Baroness Dean is remembered for her roles in trade unionism, housing and education, she was also a key supporter of the Christian Socialist Movement, the organisation's name prior to renaming in 2013 as Christians on the Left (CotL). Brenda was active mainly in the 90's but was still faithfully Chairing the CSM Trust when I became Director in 1999. I remember her as a friendly, no nonsense, down to earth practical person - keen to help and support the causes she believed in. I shared the sadness of many on the news of her passing.

Brenda stepped up to support the thousands of Christians who joined Labour and CSM after the General Election defeat of 1992. She was a key ally to then CSM Director, David Cairns, former Greenock & Inverclyde MP, who described a time when 1,000 CSM applications arrived in one week. Brenda, who had been ennobled in 1993, was one of the many Labour politicians who supported CSM at that time. 

Brenda was a trade unionist first and foremost, becoming active in her workplace at the young age of 16. She became President of the print union SOGAT in 1983 and was its General Secretary from 1985. That election made her the first woman to lead a major craft or industrial union. CSM archives at Sarum College contain a message from Brenda to the Movement in March 1994 and she supported the CSM lent appeal in 1995. When I worked with Brenda in the late 90's, she was still as committed as ever to the cause of Christian values in Labour politics.

We thank God for the life and work of Brenda Dean and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

Brenda Dean, Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, (29 April 1943 – 13 March 2018).

 

Graham Dale, Director of CSM, 1999-2004

 

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