Peace and human-rights campaigner ‘true hero’ to the end

Peace campaigner Rob Bennett, who has died aged 60, was a “true humanitarian hero” to the end.

Brought up in Hampstead, Mr Bennett inherited his parents’ campaigning nature and headed up the Hampstead branch of the CND and Amnesty International.

Last Christmas – suffering from muscular dystrophy and barely able to write – he still managed to attach campaign literature to his Christmas cards.

His parents were subject to police surveillance after hacking into television transmissions to spread their message of peace from their home in South Hill Park.

His father, a journalist for the Daily Telegraph who was put on General Franco’s hit list, and his writer mother Margo have a bench in their name on Parliament Hill.

Mr Bennett was a constant presence in the local and national press, writing tirelessly about the cost to the nation of maintaining weapons of mass destruction, human rights and peace initiatives.

Weekends away were cut short so he could man campaign stalls and hand out leaflets.

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He was a well-known face about the village, cycling around in his typically bright clothing with panniers bulging with pamphlets.

He left Hampstead for west London in 1990.

Friend Marilyn Daish, 65, of Tufnell Park, said: “Rob understood and appreciated the meaning of the concept of freedom in people’s lives and did not bow to its distortions.

“The stalls he manned in all weathers, his readiness to devote all his energy to his causes, his courage, humour, complete honesty and integrity are qualities by which he will be remembered.

“Rob lived his life to the full, always finding the time to spare for anyone ill or distressed and he fought to secure improved facilities for the disabled, so that his legacy might live on in the lives of others similarly affected.”