We at No to Silvertown Tunnel were saddened to hear of the death of Terry Grant, who helped our campaign get off the ground and provided significant support to us.A former police sergeant, Terry was a lynchpin of the successful campaign to stop the Thames Gateway Bridge, turning up each day to the year-long public inquiry that helped bring an end to Ken Livingstone’s plans for a major road crossing between Beckton and Thamesmead.
We were introduced to Terry by Jenny Bates of Friends of the Earth, another veteran of that campaign, when we were planning our first air pollution study in 2013, conducted in association with Network for Clean Air. Together with fellow campaigner Barbara Gill, he helped us with that study, putting tubes on lamp posts to help us measure nitrogen dioxide in streets close to the Blackwall Tunnel southern approach.
The following year, he helped us with our bigger study, which involved teaming up with campaigners in Deptford to place 100 tubes on lamp posts across east and south-east London.
Terry and Barbara helped us cover locations in the east of our study areas. For our second study, to save us the worry and expense of couriering 100 nitrogen dioxide tubes to a laboratory in Oxford, Terry even drove them there for us.
He also ran a cinema night in the hall at Mycenae House in Blackheath, which often coincided with our committee meetings upstairs. That night played a big part in turning Mycenae House into the thriving community venue it is today.
Terry would always stop for a chat and to regale us with some seaside humour. We always said that if we ever held a benefit night, we’d give Terry an open mic spot. We’re devastated we won’t get the chance to do that.
We were all new to campaigning, but Terry’s presence always offered reassurance. He provided us with advice and financial support, as well as practical help, for which we remain hugely grateful.
Terry’s daughter, Jackie, told us:
“He used to talk about being on one of the London bridges as a young policeman in the ‘70s and the smog being so thick he couldn’t see his hand. He was genuinely outraged by the unnecessary deaths pollution caused – and horrified when he learned all about the problems with NO2 from the bridge campaign. He was particularly annoyed that this pollution was invisible, making it more difficult to campaign against. But this frustration worked well to motivate him.
“I remember once going for coffee with him in Greenwich several years ago when a group of people came up to him enthusiastically to catch up – and afterwards him proudly explaining they were his friends from the bridge campaigning group. He really enjoyed being part of this work, learned a huge amount and felt it was incredibly important.”
Terry, who lived in Bexleyheath, died on 28 July following a stroke two weeks before. He was 74. We’ll miss him, and our condolences go to his wife, Juliet, and his daughters Jackie and Josephine.