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Norfolk farmer and veteran campaigner, Lord Peter Melchett, has died

PUBLISHED: 07:28 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:40 03 September 2018

CAPTION; Photos of Organic Farmer Peter Melchett from Ringstead, for the EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE.
PHOTO; Matthew Usher
COPY; Chris Bishop
FOR; EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE
COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2007
TEL; (01603) 772434

CAPTION; Photos of Organic Farmer Peter Melchett from Ringstead, for the EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE. PHOTO; Matthew Usher COPY; Chris Bishop FOR; EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE COPYRIGHT; EDP pics © 2007 TEL; (01603) 772434

Archant © 2007

Norfolk farmer and veteran campaigner Lord Peter Melchett has died aged 71.

The Labour peer lived in north west Norfolk.

Lord Melchett became nationally known having led a group of 28 Greenpeace campaigners who trashed a GM maize trial crop at a site in Lyng, in 2000.

As executive director of Greenpeace UK at the time, Lord Melchett was acquitted of all charges along with his fellow activists.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Disks in 2000, Lord Melchett said: “You can only do it if people support you, and they won’t if what you’re doing isn’t right or if what you’re predicting doesn’t turn out to be true.”

He also joined a symbolic protest in the 1980s against a nuclear weapons base in East Anglia, where he was also arrested.

He famously told of how he could hear the voice of Lady Olga Maitland crying, “Peter, Peter, don’t do it. It’ll ruin your career!” as he cut fencing as part of the protest.

Author and broadcaster Jonathon Porritt paid tribute to his friend, writing on twitter: “Heard earlier today of the death of Peter Melchett - feeling so sad. Peter was a consummate campaigner (at Greenpeace and Soil Association), a wise and compassionate advocate for everything that really matters,and a true friend.”

Molly Scott Cato, a Member of the European Parliament, tweeted: “So sorry to hear of the death of Peter Melchett, a tireless campaigner for a form of farming that worked with nature rather than against her. He will be sorely missed but his life’s work will stand the test of time.”

Lord Peter Melchett leaves Norwich Prison after being held in custody on remand for two nights after alleged action against a GM crop at Lyng. Photo: Bill Smith  28/7/99Lord Peter Melchett leaves Norwich Prison after being held in custody on remand for two nights after alleged action against a GM crop at Lyng. Photo: Bill Smith 28/7/99

Member of Parliament for Richmond Park and North Kingston, Zac Goldsmith, wrote: “Very sad to hear about the death of Peter Melchett. He was a brave, brilliant and committed environmental campaigner, and a good friend. He will be hugely missed.”

More:

Obituary - Lord Peter Melchett

Lord Peter Melchett leaves Norwich Prison after being held in custody on remand for two nights after alleged action against a GM crop at Lyng.
Photo: Bill Smith  28/7/99Lord Peter Melchett leaves Norwich Prison after being held in custody on remand for two nights after alleged action against a GM crop at Lyng. Photo: Bill Smith 28/7/99

LORD PETER MELCHETT WALKS OUT OF NORWICH CROWN COURT AFTER THE THIRD DAY OF THE TRIAL.
<5-4-00> edp 6/4/00LORD PETER MELCHETT WALKS OUT OF NORWICH CROWN COURT AFTER THE THIRD DAY OF THE TRIAL. <5-4-00> edp 6/4/00

Lord Melchett leads the attack on the genetically-modified crop at Lyng, in 1999  Picture: Greenpeace/MorganLord Melchett leads the attack on the genetically-modified crop at Lyng, in 1999 Picture: Greenpeace/Morgan

Greenpeace activists taking part in direct action at Lyng  Picture: Greenpeace/MorganGreenpeace activists taking part in direct action at Lyng Picture: Greenpeace/Morgan

Lord Melchett smiles for the cameras outside Norwich Crown Court in September 2000, after winning his case with the GM protesters   Picture: Natasha LysterLord Melchett smiles for the cameras outside Norwich Crown Court in September 2000, after winning his case with the GM protesters Picture: Natasha Lyster

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