Just over two years ago Frank Judd, as a Parliamentary Patron of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, hosted supper in the House of Lords for all the main participants in the CEC’s Westminster Briefing on menstrual hygiene. It was typical that he found time to do so on a day when he was fully engaged in parliamentary business and debate.
Whilst attentive to all the niceties of hosting a successful meal, he also asked questions throughout, especially of our Kenyan participant, who had flown over for the occasion. He really wanted to know what she thought and what was happening to young African women whose lives could be blighted by the lack of good facilities and guidance for hygiene. Frank’s was an ever enquiring mind rather than one which sought to lay down adamant prescriptions. He was learning all the time, but he also had the capacity to turn this knowledge into action.
Frank’s engagement with international and developmental issues was legendary. He played a crucial part in ensuring that the Wilson and Callaghan governments looked outwards and remained conscientiously committed to helping less wealthy nations than our own. He went on to lead VSO and then Oxfam in formative years for both organisations.
For thirty years from 1991, when he was appointed a peer, he played a prominent role in the House of Lords, especially in debates on international development, education and the Commonwealth, and justice. He was equally active during his years as a member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. He was a true believer in people and nations working together, the richer helping the poorer.
As one of our longest-serving Parliamentary Patrons, the CEC owes Lord Judd a huge debt. He simply never said No to us, whatever favour we asked, whether it be booking a room in the Palace of Westminster, chairing a meeting, or signing a letter of support for a campaign in which we were involved. He gave true meaning to the phrase ‘live wire’, as he darted energetically from project to project, always productively. Above all, Frank was a kind and twinkling man, who loved the human race, amidst which he shone not just like a star, but like a whole constellation.
We at the Council for Education in the Commonwealth mourn his death. RIP Frank Judd.