Saturday, December 03, 2005

4 Deaths: 4 Famous Vegetarian and Vegans Die

2005 was a sad year for vegetarians and vegans as 4 of the founding members and history changing pioneers of the vegan movement have died in the last 12 months.

2005 finished as it started with the sad death of a leading light of veganism.

Arthur Ling the man who gave us soya milk and vegan chocolate and an early president of The Vegan Society died at the begining of the year.

As 2005 drew to close Donald Watson inventer of the word Vegan and founder of The Vegan Society in 1944 sadly died too.

Neville Hall, who died on 6th December 2004 aged 94, was a former President of The Vegetarian Society, and was instrumental in the creation of the Society through the amalgamation of the London and Manchester Societies in 1969. For over 30 years he was President and Chairman of Homes for Elderly Vegetarians, now known as the Vegetarian Housing Association, which offers accommodation to elderly vegetarians and vegans in its sheltered homes in Hastings and Colwyn Bay. Neville was also a founder member of the Humane Research Trust - a charity which seeks alternatives to the use of animals in medical research.

Arthur Ling, who died on 18th January 2005 aged 85, became a vegan at the age of seven and went on to become President and an Honorary Patron of The Vegan Society. Founder of Plamil Foods Limited, the first British company to manufacture ‘soya milk’, and pioneer of vegan chocolate and non-dairy egg-free mayonnaise. In the late 1980s Plamil organised two half-marathon races for vegetarians and vegans to highlight vegan fitness. Arthur took a particular interest in the health of vegan infants and children, and Plamil’s Vegan Infants Case Histories booklet gave valuable reassurance to parents wishing to rear their children on a vegan diet

Maxwell Lee, who died on 3rd March 2005 aged 73, served the vegetarian movement for more than 50 years, holding senior positions within The Vegetarian Society, the European Vegetarian Union and the International Vegetarian Union during that time. He was an outstanding ambassador for vegetarianism, taking the vegetarian message worldwide through speaking tours and international conferences. At the time of his death he was still active on the Council of The Vegetarian Society and a trustee of The Vegetarian Charity - a trust providing grants to young people to promote vegetarianism.

Donald Watson, who died on 16th November 2005 aged 95, invented the word vegan at a dance with his wife Dorothy, “from the beginning and end of vegetarian”, and founded The Vegan Society in November 1944. He said recently that whenever he died, be it next week, next month, or next, year they should get the flags out as “I will have made it”. Driven by awe and admiration for creation and nature, all of his predictions from 60 years ago came true. Despite a weak heart he proved all his critics wrong by living fit, well and strong until a few weeks before his death without medical intervention. On reading his early diaries recently he reflected with satisfaction that his views had remained the same and his basic instincts were right. For his 95th birthday Donald spoke to millions of people via the BBC World Service.