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Founder of Brighton speakers' corner granted plaque
A PLAQUE commemorating a left-wing activist who helped create a speaker’s corner has been placed at the spot he used to deliver political speeches.
The plaque on a bench in The Level, Brighton, reads of Ron Spathaky, who died last year at the age of 98: “Ron stood here, speaking out for a better world. Teacher, philosopher, linguist, ecologist, Quaker, poet, dancer and much loved family man.”
Mr Spathaky was among a group of activists who used the corner of The Level near the intersection of Union Road and Ditchling Road as a speakers’ corner.
In the late 1930s Mr Spathaky would regularly join others who had brought their own soapboxes to stand on and address a public audience on issues such as workers’ rights.
The tribute was the idea of his granddaughter Natasha Bautista, 36, a music teacher, of Park Crescent, Brighton. She said: “This was at a time when a lot of people were concerned with standing up to fascism.”
Originally from Cardiff, Mr Spathaky moved to Brighton in the 1930s. While teaching French at Brighton Intermediate School, which used to be on London Road, he became a prominent member of the co-operative movement.
Ms Bautista said: “Although my grandfather lived in lots of places he always said that Brighton was where some of his fondest memories came from – it was where he felt most alive.”
She added: “Back in the days my grandfather spoke at The Level it was what people did on their Sunday; they went and listened to people speak. I think it would be quite interesting to set up a new speakers’ corner now. ”