Since the death of our dear friend and amazing campaigner Joan Court I have been thinking through some of my many memories of shared experiences with her.
It was Joan who first encouraged me to join the committee of Quaker Concern for Animals, when I met her at their AGM in 1995. (I was already a vegetarian of course and had been for many years, but I shortly thereafter became a vegan, under her influence.)
Apart from all the QCA committee meetings and AGMs, I would meet Joan at demos outside Hillgrove Farm (where they bred cats for vivisection), and at demos in Oxford and also in Cambridge. On one occasion (in 2003) I stayed overnight with Joan before we set off for the Meditate to Liberate day outside Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). We all spent the day there, meditating, having services (Rev. James Thompson was there, of course), and holding the poor animals in the light. I also remember going to the HLS AGMs in London (Joan had procured £1 share certificates for a number of us), so we were able to attend and be a disruptive influence! (Consequently HLS decided to hold the next AGM in America, so we contributed to Joan’s air fare and off she went to attend, representing the rest of us.)
One year Joan was my guest at a Compassion in World Farming fund-raising ball, which was a lot of fun. At our table we were joined by Michael Sutcliffe and also by Liza McDowell, among others.
When my daughter was killed in 2009 Joan sent me a beautiful carved wooden angel, which is one of my most treasured possessions.
The fact that Joan has now moved on to the next world will not stop her work for animals and against cruelty, and I am quite sure that she will be continuing to work and inspire from the other side!
Sonia Waddell, 10 Dec 2016