James Crawford (1953-2018)

James Crawford, or Jim as I knew him, was a vegan and animal rights activist. He joined Oxford Vegetarians in 1988, the beginning of 20 years and more of continuous membership, during which time he was an enthusiastic supporter, regularly attending meetings and other events.

Jim was born in Oxford in 1953 and lived in the city all his life, aside from taking a degree course at Birmingham University. There he studied Biology before switching to Geography, appalled by the horrific experiments on animals that biology students were required to perform.  The experience left Jim with a lifelong loathing of vivisection, and he became an outspoken advocate for animal rights.  He was a man of deep conviction who wrote numerous letters to local newsletters putting the vegan/animal rights point of view, and he attended many animal rights marches and protests both locally and nationally.  Nevertheless, Jim was a quiet and thoughtful man, with a droll sense of humour.  He was a talented footballer in his youth and was told that he could become a professional player, but he did not want to make the commitment, and he never settled down to a career after graduation.  Jim was a volunteer at the Vegan Society offices while they were based in Oxford in the late 1980s, and he enjoyed walking in Brasenose Woods and Shotover Country Park, where he loved to watch the deer, rabbits, birds and other wildlife.  He had an extensive CD collection of mainly classical music, and he wrote a comic novel based on his student days called Goal!

In 2012, after spending nearly 8 months in hospital, Jim was diagnosed with a serious illness that left him largely housebound, leaving both Jim and his elderly mother (with whom he lived) dependent on the services of carers. Nevertheless, it was a great shock to Jim’s family when he suddenly passed away on 4 July aged 65, less than a year after his mother had died.  Although I had not seen Jim since 2012 owing to his illness, I shall miss him as a friend and fellow vegan.

Paul Appleby

(The photo below, taken by Joe Halse in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in January 2012, shows Jim Crawford in the black jacket with, from left to right, Paul Appleby, Anne Orgee and Christine Halse.)

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