Mike Duckett MBE FIH

I was saddened to hear the sudden death of Peter at such a relatively young age. He was very supportive while I was manager at the Royal Brompton Hospital and his common sense approach to hospital meals was refreshing and he kept everyone firmly on a objective that hospital meals meant a traditional recipe basis using the local ingredients rather than a fine dining approach. He certainly helped in reaching and the use of the available organic ingredients which supported the high level of patients satisfaction. He will be missed by many in the NHS.

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Alison Reynolds

Peter, taken in 1989 at the annual Greenpeace Local Groups’ conference, Hereford

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Kath Dalmeny

Since receiving the news of Peter Melchett’s death, I have felt great sadness. I have also talked with others in the Sustain alliance sharing stories of their own loss, and their relationships with a man variously described as powerful, compelling, a mentor, a father figure, intelligent, stubborn and (my favourite) “chuckly”.

I have watched film showing a younger Peter pulling up GM sweetcorn, in his characteristically direct way, wearing an uncharacteristic white boiler suit. And I have enjoyed hearing his distinctive voice and warm chuckle again, in excerpts from Desert Island Discs and environmental news reports. We are privileged that so much will survive of his work, voice and spirit.

For nine years, I served as the consumer representative on the Soil Association’s processing standards committee. I went on to work with Peter and Jo Lewis on the Food for Life catering mark standards committee, developing the systematic approach to improving school and hospital food, step by principled and pragmatic step – building a large-scale market for fresh, healthy, local and sustainable food. For several years, I have also had the great privilege of working closely with Peter, as a member of the steering group for the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics – a role in which he shone.

Reading the obituaries, I have now become far more aware of the breath-taking range of things that Peter threw himself into during his life. These paint a picture of a campaigning free-wheeler, a man who sat on Cabinet, taught biological sciences, read law, campaigned on cannabis, pulled up GM sweetcorn, cut nuclear installation fences, had a family, ran a farm, won wildlife legislation, placed hundreds of legislative amendments, loved curlews, got imprisoned, harangued pharmaceutical representatives about antibiotics, and hugged people and mentored them and chuckled a lot… Extraordinary in so many ways.

I feel gutted that Peter will not live to see a major campaign milestone that is achingly close to being won: a complete EU-wide ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics in livestock farming. When we eventually celebrate (and the celebration will be roof-raising), then lift your glass to Peter and know that he played an important part in achieving it. And as you think of him, think about what more we can do to honour his memory, and the lives, work and passion of so many of our campaigning colleagues. I feel that the very best tribute to Peter will be to step up the fight for good food, grown well, in a way that means soil, bees, farmers, and yes – curlews – can all thrive.

Alison Reynolds

Peter was a wonderful boss at Greenpeace UK: funny and irreverent on the one hand but prepared to dig very deeply into detail. I had numerous personal experiences of helping to persuade Peter to agree plans that put the organisation at risk in taking direct actions. Oh how we dreaded those “inquisitions” before the go-ahead was given – or otherwise – but the Actions Unit certainly appreciated Peter’s thoroughness and preparedness to go for it, giving us priceless and memorable opportunities to do our “thing”.

Thank You Peter, I learned a great deal from you, Alison

Rosie Boycott

I am so sad to hear of Peter’s death. I never saw enough of him but when I was lucky enough to do so, I was always inspired by his enthusiasm, knowledge and energy. Above all, Peter was always positive. A glass half-full man, who believed we could, together, sort it all out. He was one of a kind and I feel very lucky to have known him.

Maude Winkler 

Peter always took the time to say hello and ask me how I was on a Wednesday morning like all of the Soil Association staff did and still do for those of you that dont know my name is Maude Winkler-Reid and I have been a volunteer at the Soil Association for over 15 years now doing various things but Peter always had such a kind look on his face he was always very friendly and kind and approachable and would always make time to say hi to me xxx