Remembering Peter Lenaghan

posted in: Wales | 0

Respected and popular Pontypridd business owner, militant and stalwart of the Communist Party 

Peter Lenaghan’s  shop in Pontypridd  was more than just a wholefood shop. It was the focus of Peter’s politics as a Communist Party member and  Morning Star supporter. Loyalty reflected his bequest to both organisations. His friends and comrades play-write Gareth Miles and author Gwyn Griffiths  were regular callers and the  shop was always alive with political debate.  Peter’s commitment  to socialism and  our party  was  demonstrated by   financial support and his involvement in progressive causes. He translated his political principals into practical action; political by supporting the miners of Maerdy Lodge during the 1984-85 strike with donations of foodstuffs  from his shop for the families of strikers, fund raising to support flying pickets and rallying to the human shield to defend the NUM headquarters in Pontypridd as Thatcher’s judges sequestered the union’s assets.  His last demo was a protest march in Cardiff against Tory austerity and their welfare benefits cuts. There was also a practical side to his politics as for several years he was a trained volunteer in the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Right up to his death he remained a political activist. Failing health in his later years curtailed  his political activity, but he was always  a loyal reader of the Morning Star and a determinate  advocate for peace and socialism

Peter was proud of his Irish and republican heritage and just a week before his death celebrated his mother being awarded her certificate of Irish citizenship. 

The shop that he ran for twenty years still trades, now as a Community Benefit Society reflecting his ideals.  In tribute to him it is named Pete’s Shop. Peter’s popularity with both customers and those who worked there is reflected in the renaissance of the shop after the  devastation of the flood of February 2020 which destroyed it. After Peter’s death the shop manager and a group of customers who were worried about the shop closing came  together to purchase the shop and transform it into a Community Benefit Society a form of cooperative. So the shop is now collectively owned and operates as it did with Peter, providing ethical foods sourced via worker’s Cooperatives and smaller, local suppliers.

Mick Antoniw  Member of the Welsh Parliament for Pontypridd writes; Peter Lenaghan was a product of south Wales socialist politics. A radical thinker, a Welsh communist, an incorrigible spokesman for provocative and challenging ideas amongst the local Pontypridd business community where he ran his health food shop as a beacon of green and radical entrepreneurial principles. His legacy to us will see it continue as a local cooperative. Always a gentlemen to all, he will be very missed in Ponty town.

John Patrick Lenaghan

Morning Star