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LAST WORD
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Last Word
Listen to the latest editionFriday 16:00-16:30

Radio 4's weekly obituaries programme
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This week
Friday 14th April 2006
John Wilson
John Wilson tells the life stories of people who have died recently. This week: John Letts, Pete McGovern, Brede Arkless and a report on the Marx memorial.
John Letts
Founder of the Trollope Society, the Empire and Commonwealth Museum and the Earth Centre who has died aged 76.

This week has seen the announcement of the shortlist for the Gulbenkian Prize for the Museum of the Year in Britain.   Back in 1974 John Letts and Kenneth Hudson founded a campaigning group National Heritage which argued for less stuffy museum presentation and promoted awards for museums in both Britain and Europe.    John Letts went on to help rescue the archives and railway stock now housed in the National Railway Museum in York, to found the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol and the Earth Centre in Doncaster - which has now closed.

He also bought the Folio Society in 1971 and doubled its membership and in 1988 founded the Trollope Society to promote the reputation of the Victorian novelist and to publish a complete edition of Trollope's 47 novels.   

John Wilson interviews Lord Baker of Dorking - Kenneth Baker, Dr Gareth Griffiths director of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum,Sue Bradbury Editorial Director of the Folio Society and artist and illustrator Ralph Steadman. 

John Campbell Bonner Letts was born on November 18th 1929 and died on March 25th 2006.

 
Pete McGovern
Folk singer, railwayman and union official who has died aged 78.
  
In 1961 Pete McGovern penned the autobiographical song which has become an anthem in Liverpool - "In My Liverpool Home."  Over the years verses have been added commenting on Liverpool's status as home to the Garden Festival, on Paul McCartney's knighthood and in 1973, when Liverpool met Everton in the Milk Cup Final, Pete McGovern and the Spinners led the crowd at Wembley singing "In My Merseyside Home."    After a career in the railways working as a wheel tapper and safety manager he became Secretary of the Merseyside Pensioner's Association and penned a song for the group called "Dignity in Retirement".

His son Michael and daughter Maureen discuss their father.

Pete McGovern was born in Liverpool on October 28th 1927 and died in Trawsfynydd, Gyynedd on April 1st 2006.
 

Brede Arkless
Mountaineer who has died aged 66.

The first woman to gain the right to wear the badge of an international mountain guide, Brede Arkless, left her job as a stockbroker for a career as a climbing instructor in Snowdownia.  In 1970 she was part of a group of women who undertook an expedition to the Padar Himalaya. 10 years later she set up courses for women wanting to climb and in the 1990s she relocated to New Zealand.

Fellow mountaineers Phil Thomas, Caroline Ogden, Rhona Lampard and Mal Creasey talk to John Wilson.

Brede Arkless was born in Manchester on August 10th 1939 and died in New Zealand on March 18th.
 
Laurence Bradshaw and the Karl Marx Memorial 

50 years ago a group of people gathered in Highgate cemetary for the unveiling of the bust of Marx which now adorns his grave. It's become an iconic image visited by people from across the world but nowhere on the 15 foot high monument is the name of the artist. 

Alan Dein uncovers the story of Laurence Bradshaw - the man who sculpted Marx - talking to people at this year's ceremony to commemorate the death of Marx, to Bradshaw's widow Eileen and to Victoria Worsley, archivist at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. 
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