Lasting tribute in Bolton to anti-war campaigner Bertie Lewis
10:45am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
COME rain or shine, peace campaigner Bertie Lewis was a regular character in Bolton town centre every Saturday.
He took up his spot near the charity canopy, wearing his old overcoat and medals and carrying his placard to promote peace.
And now his name is to be immortalised on a flagstone in the town centre so he is never forgotten.
Bertie died after a heart attack in 2010 at the age of 90.
And over the past two years members of Bolton CND/Stop the War Coalition with Bolton Trades Council and Unison have been working on the lasting tribute.
Malcolm Pittock of Bolton CND, who knew Bertie for many years, said: “He was a very determined man and a very memorable person, which is why people respected him. He devised his own way of doing things.”
His unique achievement was laying a wreath of white poppies at Bolton’s war memorial during the Remembrance Day service.
Mr Pittock said: “He did it all on his own and Bolton is the only place where CND is represented as part of the Remembrance service.”
He also told how Bertie, who was born in Chicago and was a former Royal Air Force flight sergeant who flew more than 40 bombing missions during the Second World war, never relinquished his American citizenship.
Mr Pittock added: “He was very persistent and a fighter. He wouldn’t be put down. He had his membership of the British Legion in Farnworth suspended, so he appealed to the national office who reinstated him.”
In his later years Bertie decided to hold his peace vigils in Victoria Square every Saturday, Mr Pittock added.
He said: “He used to stand there with his placard. He didn’t use a megaphone or anything, he just waited for people to come and talk to him.”
Bertie also went to London to demonstrate against the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and the Israeli bombing of Palestine. Bolton Council has given approval for the flagstone to be laid and it is hoped it will be in place in time for this year’s Armistice Day service.
Martin McLoughlin, president of Bolton Trades Council, said:”Bertie stood in the town centre, week in and week out. I spoke to him a lot and he always impressed me.”
He added that Unison and the Trades Council will be footing the bill for the stone.
Comments are closed on this article.