They made Their mark
The team at DDN were very sad to hear of the recent deaths of two ‘harm reduction
heroes’ who made an impact on many. Activist and campaigner Grant McNally and
Beryl Poole, much-loved peer advocate and a valued member of our DDN conference
team each year, will be sorely missed.
Losing some of the greats in the drug user activist
field hits hard. Beryl Poole & Grant McNally were
passionate and kicked wide open the doors for me
and others to walk through. Anna Millington
Beryl, bless her, was a rare and true individual.
I learnt a lot from her. Steve Freer
I'm very sorry to hear of the death of
Beryl Poole - Another long-term harm
reduction activist & friend of many. I'll
miss your unassuming, self-
deprecating, sometimes caustic wit –
always, ‘to the point’ and down to
earth. I'll also miss your Radio 4
recommendations and evident pleasure
in having a grandson to spoil.
20 | drinkanddrugsnews | November 2018
Beryl was the first woman I ever formally
organised with back in 1996 setting up self-
organisation of drugs users in North west London.
Our Brent Substance Users Rights Forum met
regularly at the Junction Project, enabled by
Sebastian Saville who ran the agency at that time.
Each group began with a Burning Issues session,
in case anyone had been arrested, beaten up or
had their scripts ripped away from them.
What I appreciated most about Beryl was her
direction, always grounded in the reality of users’
lives, plus she was passionate about learning the
ropes, but I have to admit that I learnt more from
her. She could also lighten the group up when
things got too serious.
All her work with the Alliance: God knows how
many people she supported there and all that
work with DDN helping to organise the annual
user conference. We have lost a great orator, carer,
activist and comedienne.
Grant’s work and his passing was recently
remembered by many in a large HCV Community
Summit in Portugal. Everyone was deeply saddened
as many remembered the years of hard work Grant
had put into the HCV awareness cause.
Grant was thought of by many around the world
as a leading UK and European HCV activist and
although his health took away much of his strength
in recent years, he will always be remembered for his
energy, insight and knowledge around bringing HCV
awareness forward, indeed to the place it is today.
Grant helped, and was held in high esteem by,
people all over the world. Nick Goldstein