13 Jan Remembering Irene Williams – one in a million!
Here Philip writes an Obituary for Irene Williams, a passionate animal advocate and supporter, who also wrote a guest blog ‘For the Love of Animals’ a few years ago.
Irene was one of our most active volunteer campaigners and we were all sorry to hear that she had passed away, aged 96, just before Christmas. A miner’s daughter from Yorkshire, Irene started supporting Compassion in its very first year, 1967. She was inspired by our founder, Peter Roberts MBE, whom she admitted was her hero.
Having grown up in what she called a “pit house”, she understood about hardship, poverty and inequality. She began to realise that animals also suffered from dreadful deprivation. As a teenager she joined her local RSPCA and from that time on, the wellbeing of all animals became her life’s mission.
She became more and more involved with Compassion, from attending our peaceful demonstrations to representing Compassion on the radio as well as on street stalls. Irene made it her business to visit battery hen farms and intensive pig units for herself. I recall hearing a radio discussion between her and a forthright local pig factory farmer. After his tirade, justifying his factory farming methods, on came Irene and, in her gentle Yorkshire voice, she totally devastated his arguments!
Irene also served as a much-valued Trustee of Compassion for several years.
As she began to lose her sight, she studied for a degree and received her B.A. Irene sadly lost her husband and her only son in recent years, but her passion for animal welfare always remained strong.
As she wrote a few years ago: “Battery hens, broilers, quail, ducks and turkeys, pigs, dairy cows, calves and more, all suffer unbelievable cruelty during the whole of their short lives and savage deaths”. Irene never forgot this and we, who knew her, will never forget her.