Author Archives: Peter Coggins

David Penwarden dies at 88

The Liberal Democrats lost a much-loved colleague, mentor and campaigner on February 8th.

David Penwarden was a member of the Party for about 70 years, his first role being President of the 1000-strong Oxford University Liberal Party. He took pride in making it the largest political society at the University, a feat he attributed to holding meetings at the women’s colleges rather than the men’s colleges where the other parties operated!

He first stood as a Liberal candidate in the 1955 General Election in a, not unsurprisingly, unsuccessful campaign in West Ham North where he used beer-mats with the message ‘Vote Penwarden for peace, progress, prosperity’. He did get elected later, however, as a Liberal councillor for the County Borough of West Ham.

In 1961 he moved with his wife and young children to Berkshire where he was elected to Reading Borough Council. In 1963 he stood unsuccessfully in a by-election for the Deptford constituency.

In 1966 the family moved to Harpenden and David stood in the South Bedfordshire constituency in both the 1974 general elections. David was the Chair of the Liberal Party’s Candidates Committee in 1978-80. He stood for Hemel Hempstead in the 1979 general election.

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