Len Aldis was born in London on October 03, 1930. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and friend. He is remembered for his generosity of spirit, warmth, and his far-reaching compassion to help those he believed deserved better. Here, you may engage with and share memories in a variety of ways.
He is much loved and will always be remembered by all his family and friends.
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Obituary from the Guardian:
Len Aldis, who has died aged 85, raised support for victims of the Vietnam war (1955-75), and particularly for those who suffered from Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant sprayed by the US military during that conflict.
Len became increasingly involved in leftwing politics on returning home in 1950 from two years of national service with the army in Egyp, where he first became aware of anti-colonialist struggles. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1956, as well as CND, and participated in opposition to the Vietnam war in the late 1960s. While running Collets’ Russian bookshop in London, he developed projects to support education, poverty alleviation and the re-greening of defoliated areas in Vietnam.
He first visited the country in 1989, after his retirement, and three years later he founded the Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society, of which he was secretary. In particular, he was affected by meeting many of the severely disabled children of Vietnamese veterans who had been exposed to Agent Orange. After his first trip, he made annual visits to Vietnam thereafter, even when he was virtually housebound.
Len raised money to help victims of the war by selling handcrafted Vietnamese souvenirs at events across London. One of the beneficiaries was Lê Văn Chien, who was born with only stumps just below his knees. Len helped to arrange an operation for him in 1999 when Chien was nine. He was fitted with artificial limbs. Chien learned to walk and came second in an international IT competition for disabled young people in 2013.
Len repeatedly called upon the US administration and the chemical companies who manufactured Agent Orange to take responsibility for the harm caused to Vietnam’s environment and people. He submitted evidence to the US Court of Appeals in 2007 as part of an action brought on behalf of Vietnam’s victims, and launched a series of petitions that attracted more than 700,000 signatures. Len described the news that the appeal had been rejected as a “terrible blow” for the more than three million people affected. But this and other defeats only spurred him to further action.
Len was born in Dagenham in Essex, the eighth of eleven children of Mary (nee Thomas) and Harry, a docker. He went to Dempsey Street secondary modern school in Stepney, in the East End of London, and his first job, aged 14, was as a packer in a clothing factory.
On his death, Nguyen Thi Bình, a former vice president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, paid tribute to a “great friend” of the Vietnamese people. Vietnam recognised his work by honouring him with the country’s Red Cross humanitarian award.
Len is survived by his sisters, Patricia and Violet, and his brother, Bob.