Bruce Kent, Prisoners Abroad’s first ever donor shares why he gave to Prisoners Abroad

Bruce is a British political activist and a former Roman Catholic priest.  He was active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and currently holds the position of Vice-President.

“One of the central Christian teachings is caring for prisoners and this was morally a cause close to my heart.  I heard on the Islington grapevine about Joe Parham setting up an organisation that was going to support prisoners overseas in a completely non-judgemental way.   They were helping a group of people that no-one else was; no-one else was taking up their cause.

I visited Joe in her tiny office above a shop in Upper Street, up rickety stairs to a grotty little room.  I don’t think anybody was getting paid at that point and I was touched by their courage and determination and admired how they made things happen to support British prisoners overseas; people who are often forgotten.

My impression was “this wonderful ‘seed’ organisation needs to grow and I need to do what I can to help them become ’an oak”’.

I was a curate in Islington at the time and I persuaded the church to raise a bit for Joe and co. and managed £50, which I am told was their first ever donation.

I am amazed to visit their offices now and see how much it has grown to having 29 employees supporting over 1,000 people imprisoned overseas and their families in the UK.

Since the 1970s I have been involved in many organisations supporting prisoners as well as CND.  After visiting Prisoners Abroad’s office and reading some of the case studies of prisoners I still think “How can you not respond to that?  How can you think that prison is the best place for this person? How can you not help?  It is a moral obligation."

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