Fi Radford Obituary

It is with great sadness that we announce that Fi Radford died on Sunday 22 November 2020.

Fi was among the first Extinction Rebellion Bristol rebels. She became ‘mother’ to the central meeting, held at Malcolm X Centre, inducting literally hundreds of us and was one of XR’s Rebel Elders, a member of the Evergreens and the Act Your Age affinity groups. She was also often seen caping up with the Aged Agitators and played an active role in the Bristol Area Action Network (BAAN), a group fighting the expansion of Bristol Airport.

Leading Aged Agitators to Weston Town Hall to present anti-Airport expansion card to North Somerset councillors

She recruited and inspired many of us to participate in our first Bristol rebellions and was present at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in October 2018, when the first XR Bristol arrestees were fined.

Fi’s devotion to our cause predated XR. Fi was a Greenpeace activist for over a decade taking part in many non-violent direct actions and campaigns covering forests, energy, oceans and climate change, and alongside fellow Greenpeace activist Richard Baxter took part in many dare-devil actions. A dedicated Earth Protector, involved in the STOP ECOCIDE campaign, she founded Bristol Environmental Activists Together and Clifton Climate Action, and was a member of Grandparents for a Safe Earth, working joyously with Phil Kingston.

She targeted Barclays on at least 12 occasions as an anti-fracker. As an XR activist, and through her active membership of Greenpeace, she came to intimately understand the power of non-violent direct action (NVDA).

In 2018, as part of Grandparents for a Safe Earth, she was wheelchaired into the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy during a protest against the government’s fracking policy.

Joint lock-on. Credit Barry Cash

In 2019, Fi was interviewed outside Blackrock at the ‘You Can’t Eat Money’ action when she tried unsuccessfully to glue herself on to their London HQ. She spoke eloquently on camera as to her reasons for being there:

Outside BlackRock’s London HQ. Credit Gareth Morris

Fi referred to her arrest and her commitment to NVDA in the TEDX talk she gave at the Bristol Old Vic in Autumn 2019. Rebel Elders recall her practising her talk, from memory and no notes, a few weeks prior to the main event. She said later it was more nerve-wracking than the real event. The talk, so confidently presented, was a total success. It was titled “What did you do in the Climate Crisis, Grandma? ” and has had nearly 9000 views:

Fi’s final action in Bristol was a joint one involving the Evergreens, Earthquakes and Aftershocks XR affinity groups in September 2020. Dressed as a forensic scientist, she was an Ecocide inspector at our crime scene action. From there she went straight to London to join the last bit of the rebellion there.

Pictured in the kit under the tree in Quakers Friars. Credit Richard Baxter

It was on her return to Bristol that there were first signs that Fi was not well. She was diagnosed shortly afterwards with terminal cancer. Her activity, up to her first signs of illness, epitomised her energy and commitment to climate and social justice.

Fi’s life was an inspiration to so many. She will be remembered for her sparkly eyes, selflessness, for her sunny nature, her courage, her ability to make everyone she met feel special, her kindness and her sense of fun. Fi really loved her rebel friends. There were many she was unable to reach in the few weeks she had left. She touched so many lives but she definitely felt that her rebel friends were, in Quaker terms, ‘Holding her in the Light’ and surrounding her in love. That was also her last message to Jo when she rang her from St Peter’s Hospice, with her very last words to her being “just to let you know that I am at peace“.

In her last days Fi was supported by her two beloved sons and loving husband Andrew. Fi and Andrew met at school aged 16 and he proposed to her whilst she was reading French at Oxford University (which, by the way, she hated) and they had been together ever since.

Fi’s funeral will be small and family-only. Her XR friends might want to know that Fi also asked Jo and a mutual friend Anna Bianchi to help organise a big memorial event for Fi for her family and friends when it is Covid-safe to do so. This will be held in Spring or Summer 2021 at Circomedia which, as Fi explained, was near to the Malcolm X Centre and so many of her loved rebel friends. We will keep rebels informed of plans for this in due course.

It is essential to acknowledge the huge part that her life-long partner and husband Andrew played in supporting Fi to be the wonderful environmental activist she was. He made enormous sacrifices to support her work including abandoning a comfortable retirement at their beautiful house in France and moving to Bristol ten years or so ago so she could get involved with her important work.

We and many other rebels had the pleasure of working alongside Fi on many actions. She was truly a real mentor to new rebels and she will be missed by us and so many others.

She leaves Andrew, two sons John and Richard and grandson, Edgar.

Jo Flanagan (Earthquakes) Alison Allan (Earthquakes) Richard Baxter (Evergreens) Mike Campbell (Rebel Elders)

If you wish to join us in remembering Fi please make a donation to the local rewilding group Avon Needs Trees, of which she was an active supporter. Trees planted in her honour will provide homes for the wildlife she so loved for generations to come.

Taking it to Barclays for the last time. Credit Alison Allan