Friday, 14 September 2012

Minibus given to Che Guevara's daughter in memory of Gateshead union leader

The following article appeared in The Journal to coincide with Aleida Guevara’s visit to Newcastle as part of the ‘Remembering Che’ tour. 

THE daughter of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara has accepted a minibus presented in memory of union leader Kenny Bell.

Dr Aleida Guevara was in the region to receive the 16-seater bus in remembrance of the Unison deputy convenor, who tragically died last year.

For decades Mr Bell fought for the rights of workers, and continued to do so through a year when he knew his cancer was terminal.

The 62-year-old spent the last months of his life fighting coalition Government spending cuts despite being told that he had an aggressive form of throat cancer, which had sadly spread despite chemotherapy.

He also led the team of fundraisers who encouraged Unison branches to donate money to purchase the minibus, computers and medical equipment, which will be shipped to Cuba.

The minibus, named the Kenny Bell Minibus for Cuba, was handed to Dr Guevara at a ceremony at Newcastle’s Civic Centre.

Regional convener for Unison, Clare Williams, said: “Unison Northern Region were delighted to welcome Dr Aleida Guevara, the daughter of legendary Cuban hero Che, to Tyneside to talk about her experiences in International Health Brigades, and her father.

“This minibus project was inspired by our deputy convenor Kenny Bell, who died a year ago, and who was an inspirational figure with a tremendous commitment to international solidarity and encouraging young members.”

Mr Bell passed away on August 14 at his home in Blackhall Mill, Gateshead. He leaves behind his partner Joyce and their sons Patrick, Jack and Joseph.

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