Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Many Liberals will have been saddened to hear of the death of Hester Smallbone. Her daughter Teresa wrote an obituary in Saturday's Guardian. Hester was a stalwart of Richmond Liberals and I lodged with her in Kew in 1983 so that I could take part in the general election campaign which Alan Watson very nearly won. She was larger than life, generous, vocal and enthusiastic. Indeed, Hester's enthusiasm for liberalism was unbounded. I remember we travelled through Richmond on an open-topped battlebus with Hester dressed in orange from head to foot. She may sometimes have overestimated the party's impact. Returning from a Liberal Conference in Blackpool, I met Hester at a motorway service station. When I commented on the amount of traffic, she told me it was all the Liberal delegates on their way home. When her daughter voted Labour, she commented, "Born free, chose slavery".