Peter Avis, the organiser of the Great Dieppe trip for more than 30 years, has died in Brighton aged 83.

A Communist, he forged close links with the party in Dieppe where they ruled for many years in alliance with the Socialists.

Each September from 1978 he took a large party of Communists and Socialists from Brighton to the Normandy resort, known as the Great Dieppe trip.

They included many councillors and both of Brighton’s Labour MPs, Des Turner and David Lepper.

In later years he widened the composition of the group to include non-political people such as former Brighton Festival director Gavin Henderson.

Mr Avis went to Surbiton Grammar School and the London School of Economics. He later spent time in Paris studying at the Sorbonne and working for La Telegraphe.

He had a huge love for France and the French from an early age and spoke the language fluently.

Passionate campaigner

Mr Avis was a constant and passionate campaigner his whole life. He often took his children with him to marches and demos, supporting CND and visiting Greenham Common among many other causes.

After the collapse of Communism, he became active in the Green Party which annoyed some of his former Communist and Labour friends.

He worked for the Observer newspaper and was a reporter at the Morning Star for many years, where the journalists voluntarily returned a percentage of their wages to the Communist Party to help the cause.

Mr Avis divided his time between Dieppe and Brighton. He wrote an acclaimed guide book to Dieppe and was made an honorary citizen of the town.

He appeared regularly on the European French service of the BBC and made occasional appearances on French TV. He also wrote about British politics for the French media.

His funeral will be at Woodvale, Brighton on Friday, January 11 at 11am.

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