In tribute to Dolly Shaer

by New Worker correspondent

DOLLY Shaer, a long standing comrade and a member of the leadership of the New Communist Party, passed away last June. Friends and comrades paid their last respects to Dolly at her funeral in Guildford last July. But they, and many others, returned to the Party Centre last Saturday for a memorial social to remember Dolly’s life and her life-long commitment to the communist ideal.

Dolly was born in 1931, the “devil’s decade” during a world-wide slump that led to massive unemployment. It was the era that saw the rise of Adolf Hitler and the spread of fascism in Britain and throughout Europe. But it was also the decade which saw the strengthening of the Soviet power which eliminated unemployment in the USSR in 1930 and build the industrial and military might that smashed the Nazi hordes in the Second World War.

Dolly’s father fought in the International Brigade to defend the Spanish Republic against General Franco’s rebels and the Nazi and Italian fascist legions that backed him. Dolly followed her father’s footsteps by joining the Young Communist League as soon as she could and plunging herself into the post-war struggles for peace and socialism in Britain.

Opened by Party Chair Alex Kempshall, the formal tributes began with Dolly’s partner Ken Ruddock and her daughter Carole and Carole spoke of her mother’s determination, steeled by decades of struggle in education, the anti-racist campaigns and fight to preserve the memory of the Brigaders for the generations to come.

NCP leader Andy Brooks said Dolly was an example to us all, as did John Macleod from the Socialist Labour Party. Ernie Hunt, a veteran from the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML) put Dolly’s life in the context of the struggle against revisionism. Dermot Hudson from the Korean Friendship Association paid tribute Dolly’s solidarity work and that of the NCP as a whole in support of Democratic Korea and Ann Rogers, the former editor of the New Worker who worked with Dolly for many years recalled the happy events in her company.

Dolly was National Treasurer of the Party and for many years no event would end without her call to build the fighting fund. Earlier in the day the Central Committee had agreed to increase the target for the Special Appeal to £15,000. And this was taken up by Daphne Liddle who made a stirring appeal to boost the Special Fund to safeguard the future of the New Worker and remember Dolly in the way she would have wanted. They did with a collection that totalled £1,732.