Tony Benn at Winfrith

Dorset Echo: Jessie Fry with a pipe-smoking Tony Benn at Winfrith in 1969 Jessie Fry with a pipe-smoking Tony Benn at Winfrith in 1969

FOLLOWING the death of Tony Benn last Friday, March 14, Looking Back reader Peter Fry contacted us with a series of photographs from his past.

Peter’s father Donald was the director of the Atomic Energy Establishment at Winfrith in the 1960s when Tony Benn was Minister for Technology.

As such, he visited the centre with Prince Philip for the official opening of the steam generating heavy water reactor on February 23, 1968, and again, on an official visit, with the Queen and Prince Philip on July 11, 1969.

In one photo, Mr Benn can be seen smoking his trademark pipe next to Peter’s mother Jessie.

Peter said: “At lunch after the visit, my mother sat next to Tony Benn and I remember her saying how he became quite agitated towards the end of the meal because he wanted to light his pipe. He kept asking her if it was all right for him to smoke!”

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