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Green Party's Caroline Lucas among politicians paying tribute to activist Penelope Kemp from Headcorn following death

Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to an 'inspiring' pioneer of the Green movement who has passed away aged 72.

Penelope 'Penny' Kemp, who had Parkinson's Disease, lived her whole adult life in Headcorn and was a founder of the Green Left.

Penelope Anne Kemp
Penelope Anne Kemp

She also co-founded Headcorn Sustainability, a group which supports farmers' markets and local shops by encouraging people to buy locally-produced food.

In 1979 she joined what was then the Ecology Party, a place where she was able to combine her belief in social, economic and ecological justice.

Mrs Kemp served as External Communications Co-ordinator in the National Executive and as Co-Chair of the Green Party Council in 1989 and various times through the 1990s and 2000s.

She passed away surrounded by her friends and family on Saturday, June 12 from pneumonia, but she also had advanced Parkinson's.

Simply put by the Scottish Green Politician, Ross Greer MSP: "You can't write the history of Green politics on these islands without mentioning Penny.

Penny with daughters Tracy and Cora, and Sam, who she was a mother figure to
Penny with daughters Tracy and Cora, and Sam, who she was a mother figure to

"Her friendship and support meant so much to me personally and I know there are hundreds of others who feel the same."

Among her achievements, Mrs Kemp's discussion on the First Gulf War in 1991 to examine the environmental effects, had significant impact.

She then wrote a new resolution for the UN on the environmental effects of the Gulf War which was taken up by Jordan, Sweden and Canada.

Mrs Kemp battled for the decentralist wing of the party back in the 1980s and 1990s, which was high grade but essential factional work, publishing the Green Manifesto with Derek Wall, as well as managing the party press work and contributing to Caroline Lucas's various election victories.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton, Pavilion pays tribute: “Penny was a pioneer of the Green movement, a tireless champion for nature and the climate, and one of the first to recognise how social justice and environmental justice are inextricably linked.

Penny Kemp. Picture: Stuart Jeffery
Penny Kemp. Picture: Stuart Jeffery

"She was a formidable and tenacious campaigner, with boundless energy and a knack for charming even her strongest political opponents.

"She was an inspiration to me, and to so many others, a person of boundless kindness and generosity as well as a wicked sense of humour and fun.

"The loss to both her very many friends and to the wider Green movement is immense, and she will be hugely missed”.

Mrs Kemp believed that social justice must remain a central part of Green Party policy.

She often said: “I'm not one of those who is just here to save the planet - I think the planet will save itself quite happily without us on it. I think we are here to save ourselves, really.”

As well as her political achievements, Mrs Kemp was also a mother and leaves behind her daughters Tracy and Cora.

Paying tribute alongside Johann, her partner of the last 30 years, they said: “Mum was a beautiful person who touched so many people with her kindness and wisdom.

"The original eco-warrior, who campaigned tirelessly for the environment. She was so important to so many people in so many ways.

"A wonderful mother, grandmother and partner we will forever have you in our hearts.”

Mrs Kemp will be laid to rest at her home, Gloversbridge Farm on Saturday, July 3.

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