Anne Mobbs obituary
My aunt Anne Mobbs, who has died aged 84, was a community organiser and activist who was fully committed to promoting social justice.
Born into a Jewish family in Tottenham, north London, Anne was one of the five children of Miriam (nee Weinberg), a seamstress, and Nathan Wrightman, a carpenter. She and her two sisters were evacuated to Cornwall during the second world war, and after finishing her schooling she worked in secretarial roles at Granada TV, the BBC World Service and the National Film Theatre.
Inspired by the formation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958, she quickly became an active CND member until, with her husband, David Mobbs, a biochemist and Communist party member whom she married in 1959, she moved to Nigeria in 1960 with their young children.
David lectured at the University of Ibadan while Anne was employed by the university’s drama school and helped to organise film and theatre festivals. That work led her into contact with the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, and years later she was involved in protesting againast his execution by the Nigerian military.
Anne and her family also lived in Ghana and Zambia, and in Zambia she raised funds for the African National Congress.
It was when Anne returned to the UK in 1971 and settled in Oxford that she became part of my life. Growing up under Margaret Thatcher, I was heavily influenced by Anne’s commitment to help those who were suffering in the harsh political climate. She also supported successful campaigns to get Oxford city council to disinvest its pension fund from apartheid South Africa. In her work as an assistant community relations officer in Oxford, from 1975 onwards, she helped to win racial discrimination cases and to organise support for initiatives celebrating black culture.
From the late 1980s onwards, Anne was Oxford city council’s Fun in the Parks festival organiser, booking music, bands, circus acts, comedians and stalls. She also helped to set up the annual Oxford International Women’s festival, raised the profile of the Oxford bail support group, set up by Asylum Welcome to secure release of those held at Campsfield House detention centre, and was a driving force behind the closure of the centre – garnering support from the band Radiohead.
Even in retirement Anne could not resist getting involved, supporting a local group in the Jericho area of Oxford, where she lived.
Anne and David separated in 1973 and divorced two years later. She is survived by her children, Keir, Ruth and Amanda, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.