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Veteran NHS campaigner Harry Leslie Smith in Stroud this October

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27 Sep 2017
Harry Leslie Smith

Veteran NHS campaigner Harry Leslie Smith is coming to Stroud in October to read from his latest book, Don’t Let My Past Be Your Future.

In a special event ahead of his appearance at the world-famous Cheltenham Literature Festival, the inspirational 94-year-old Second World War veteran will issue a rallying cry to young people in Gloucestershire.

He said: “I am not an academic or a historian. I am just an old man who is a living bridge to your history. Today’s austerity, politics of hate and class divisions can only be defeated when the young once again own the history of their grandparents or great-grandparents’ generation.

“My life is at eventide, and the curtain of night is closing in upon my time on this earth. I am almost one hundred years old. I know death is waiting for me but there are still some things that I must do before my life’s journey is complete

“I must set before younger generations the story of my early life. I must let them know about my struggles and that of my generation to build a more equal country for all and how that relates to today’s politics. I must remind them to be vigilant against demagogues because the ugly spectre of fascism has started to stir again across the globe.”

Harry has written five books and writes regularly for The Guardian, commenting on politics, the welfare state and 20th Century politics. He has become a Twitter sensation, with more than 122,000 followers enjoying his compassionate take on current affairs and his robust arguments with online trolls.

In 2015 he supported Jeremy Corbyn in his leadership bid, tweeting: “I back #JeremyCorbyn b/c I want my grandchildren's generation to have a fighting chance for a decent and meaningful life free of austerity".

He will be speaking at the Stroud Congregational Church in Bedford Road GL5 1AY at 7.30pm on Friday 13 October. The event, which is a fundraiser for Stroud Constituency Labour Party, will see two actors reading from Don’t Let My Past Be Your Future before Harry gives a talk about his life. Afterwards, he will be signing copies of his new book.

Harry said: “Last time I came to Stroud I enjoyed a pint of cider at the Woolpack in Slad. I look forward to returning next month and receiving similar hospitality!”

Stroud CLP chair Doina Cornell said: “It’s a real privilege to welcome Harry back to Stroud for this unique event. His passion for public services is second to none and his message is one of hope for the future. We all need the tonic that is Harry Leslie Smith.”

Tickets are available online at  or can be bought at the Labour Party office at 5a Lansdown, Stroud.

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