I wrote the following...
Remember Neil Lea, 1958-2007.
Neil Lea, founder of Vegan Buddies, founder of the vegan database, Is It Vegan, editor of the animal rights magazine, ARCNews, and dedicated animal advocate volunteer, died on the 10th of July, 2007.
We at The Vegan Information Project salute this inspirational grass-roots campaigner, and wish to have his life and achievements remembered within the animal advocacy movement. People join the vegan community all the time and, through no fault of their own, are often unaware of the pioneers of the movement to which they support. The 1940s vegans, such as Donald Watson, were the vegan pioneers we all remember, of course, but Neil Lea was a vegan pioneer too in his day.
Neil realised that the “problem” of veganism is not nutrition, and not health, but often social in the sense of deliberately swimming against the tide of convention. He saw that his Vegan Buddies initiative could help and support new vegans by forging relationships with “newbies” and people who have been vegan for years. Neil Lea’s Vegan Buddies initiative has been rekindled for the internet age and “globalised” in recent years by Animal Rights Zone: http://arzone.ning.com/group/vegan-buddies
The following is a forum post, written on July 11th, 2007
The pro-animal movement lost a true champion yesterday and I lost a friend: Neil was an extraordinary man. Each day was a battle to overcome, sometimes very painful, illness to get on with his tireless campaigning for animal rights.
Born spina bifida, Neil recognised that his life expectancy was below average and lived his life accordingly, impatient and determined to make a positive difference. His vision, moral courage, tenacity and strategic insight made him a great campaigner.
Neil remained ambitious to the end and rarely talked about his illness, unless asked, or even his past achievements - but instead focussed intensely on his next project. The loss to our movement is immeasurable. But Neil's strength and determination should inspire us all to continue the fight - no matter how tough it gets.
Neil died at 6.08 yesterday, Tuesday July 10th. His death was very peaceful. As many of you know he had quite a few health problems, and in the end his kidney failed and there was nothing they could do other than make him as comfortable as possible.
In the past few weeks he received many visits from lots of his friends. It really picked him up to see so many of his friends, old and new, there's no doubt it kept him going far longer than the doctors expected. He was discussing ideas and planning campaigns from his hospital bed until very near the end. He was an inspiration.
Very sad news - death of Neil Lea
Here’s part of one of many reactions to the news of Neil Lea’s death.
His ideas about campaigning were amazing, such as starting ARCnews and getting all the local animal rights groups to network and support each other, and coming up with the idea of free events where people can try all sorts of vegan food.
We should put on as many free vegan food fairs as we can in his honour…RIP Neil
Please familiarise yourself with the life and work of Neil Lea, vegan pioneer, and be inspired by his dedication to vegan education and animal rights despite all his own problems.
Neil Lea 1958-2007.
He was an extraordinary Man.