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The particular memories I want to share are of Ann’s caring for others, her commitment to complementary medicine and to the wellbeing of the planet. But I also want to appreciate Ann’s mind and passion.


Some years ago, Louise broke her neck.  She was immobile for many months, in a special bed, with mirrors to help her see what was going on, and – eventually- a system of weights on which she could exercise her upper body.  To avoid bed sores, or for some other reason, she was naked under a very light sheet.


Ann and I used to meet up at my workplace in Newcastle city centre and drive over to the hospital on Westgate Road.  Once there, and once we had exchanged warm greetings and small talk, Ann would produce Bach Flower Remedy (was it talcum powder?)  She would very slowly and carefully massage Lou’s feet and lower legs and then apply the remedy.


Did it work? Who knows?  But it did no harm – and Louise benefited from the massage, and the touch.


Years later, Lydia and Ann and I travelled in Eire, visiting Jean in Aclare and then touring about in our Saab. Everywhere we went, Ann was keen to add Sai Baba water to any water course.  This water is allegedly eternal and endlessly renewable, with the spirit of the Baba moving into tap water and into the ocean, if it was poured there.  We filled the little bottle from the tap wherever we were and poured it into water in beautiful places.  I have a memory of being Ann’s proxy, leaping over rock pools down to the sea to pour Sai Baba’s ostensible benevolent spirit and healing energy into the Irish Sea.


Did it work? Who knows? I personally was very sceptical.  But once again, it did no harm.


But Ann was no deluded fool about her commitment to alternatives to sometimes brutal mainstream medicine and her commitment to environmental protection.  Her brilliant and incisive intellect knew precisely the problems of capitalism and the patriarchy, affecting all aspects of our lives.


I have been re-reading issues of Scarlet Women – Numbers 12 and 13, from about 1981.  Ann has an article in each. One is a review of an article in a Swiss International Bulletin about tourism and prostitution in South East Asia and the South Pacific. Here is Ann’s analysis


“ The articles are valuable because they show so clearly how imperialist domination in these lands has spawned the sex tourism industry, and they show clearly too how analogous women’s oppression is to the oppression of third world/under-developed countries – and how within the colonised situation women suffer specifically as women” (Scarlet Women 12, page 18)


The second article is an excoriating essay taking apart the Campaign Against Public Morals and their defence of paedophilia.  Here is the opening of its second paragraph

“ ‘Children’s Power Means Paedophilia Now!’ runs the unlikely message.  Who are the writers of this pamphlet kidding?” and later “ Do we really want grown men probing little girls’ vaginas with their tongue?.…How can we as feminists condone an open season on girls?”  (Scarlet Women 13, July 1981 pp 6-7)

Angry, analytical, articulate, caring, committed, passionate ; Ann’s light will shine on.


Pam Flynn, Manchester, January 2018



LGBT Fed wishes to mark the recent passing of  our dear friend and colleague Ann Torode, an activistist for womens rights and disability equality. 

"Ann was a woman warrior. She was at the forefront of fights for Disability Rights, for LGBT Rights, Reclaim the Night, Rape Crisis Centres, Womens Aid, Womens Centres. We owe her so much.  She was a thorn in the side for service providers but she stuck to her Rights and in many ways because of her and others like her we have made the advances to date.

I can remember marching with her and Ben and Mikey when they just bairns, all of us singing womens liberation songs at the top of our voices and I wondered if the boys would remember these many outings.

I somehow always thought Ann would be there- she was such a solid influence and straight forward thinker.  You could be sure she would have information that would be pertinent to questions about Rights.  She also had a great sense of humour!  She would laugh out loud whereever she was if something amused her.  I already miss her but the things she taught me will live on."

Louise Evan-Wong


"Anne was always at the frontline. Forthright, articulate and fearless."

Elaine Drainville


"So sorry to hear that Ann has passed. She was a force to be reckoned with at Disability Action Network and taught me so much as a young campaigner."

Susie Balderston


"I remember Anne from my North Tyneside days. Strong woman sorry to hear she has died."

Lynne Caffrey


‪"She's a warrior never one to mince her words. Ruffled a few feathers on the way.  Feminism was always at the forefront of her beliefs, I remember when we set up a mothers group up in the women's centre. She was always challenging the status quo. The list of things she was involved in is endless.

Pat Fisher


"I remember going with her to Market St Police Station to organise some Reclaim the Night marches for better street lighting in in Newcastle for women in the 80s. Our band Burning Brass played on a couple. She was definately fearless. We must remember what she did for us."

Helen Walker


"It’s hard to grasp that Ann is no longer with us as she lived so vitally and with great purpose. As a co-worker, I spent time with Ann during the formative years of Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre. Ann made an enormous contribution to our understanding of violence against women in all its forms and the culture it operates within.


Ann was unstinting at calling out the grim realities that oppressed women’s lives and commodified their sexuality. Of course, this made a lot of people - a lot of men - very uncomfortable and this is entirely to Ann’s credit. If you spoke to Ann and didn’t feel challenged then chances were you needed to check that you had a pulse.


But it is Ann’s great humanity that also shines out for me. The empowerment of women, the absolute affirmation of women’s own experiences - these were not mere concepts. She lived and breathed it all and absolutely gave of herself."

Thelma Kropidlowska


"I first got to know Ann Torode when I was working in a left-wing bookshop in Leeds in the 1970's. She used to come in and order or buy what I thought were fearsomely intellectual books about politics and I just thought, what a brain she must have!

Later we met again when we'd both moved to Tyneside and a small group of us started a Women's Liberation group at the Coast (Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, North Shields). At the time we were working our way out of having the women's struggle defined for us by left-wing men. We were involved in planning one of the Women's Liberation Conferences, and we started editing a Socialist Feminist Journal called Scarlet Women, which got quite a list of contributors, readers and followers.

Like all of us, Ann was struggling with all the demands of being a woman, a mother, a thinker, an activist, struggling with our sexuality, enduring abuse for spelling out the abuse of all kinds which women endured. 

All her life, with a birth-acquired disability and then increasing infirmity, Ann never gave up her clear-sighted vision of how things have to change. In her name especially we have to be sure that Scarlet Women is available online to now and future activists and researchers.

Are we surprised about the Weinstein revelations and all they have given rise to? Not in the least. We always said abuse and oppression of women was endemic and we have made it possible for others to say it too.

The good that we did will be perfected in coming generations - and the good they do will be etc etc. 

Rest in peace sister Ann, your work is done, your memory lives on."

Anna Briggs



(formerly member

Scarlet Women Collective


"Ann was one of the first two workers at Tyneside Rape Crisis Centre. As a member of the collective, and relatively new feminist, I had never even thought about pornography, and was puzzled at first at her insistence that we know the content and understand its meaning, and wondered what it had to do with a Rape Crisis centre and helpline. Looking back, I’m amazed at my naivety.  Ann, through her clear analysis and insistence on our getting to grips with the ideas, was the first person to enable us to make the links (‘Pornography is violence against women’), and understand that patriarchal ideology was the system of ideas that subjugated women through violence and threats of violence. I am indebted, as we all are, to her early clear thinking on the subject, and her political strategising, which made such a difference to a lot of women who came into contact with her, and to the Rape Crisis Centre at the time.


However, I knew her as a good friend as well. We laughed together over the many meals we shared in those magical early days of the Women’s Movement, gossiped and danced together, and shared sadness. We also shared a humorous slant on Songs of the Sixties. At the weekly Women’s Centre bop, whenever ‘ Goin’ to the Chapel an’ we’re gonna get mar-ar-ar-ied’ came on the juke box, we would lock eyes, leap to our feet, and dance up a storm, in parody of course!


Rest in peace, Ann, tenacious campaigner, courageous activist, indefatigable socialiser, lesbian sister."

Elaine Hutton