Death of 'Ambassador of Dieppe'
Peter Avis, who has died, was one of the NUJ's most devoted and best-informed Francophiles as well as being a union stalwart and dedicated internationalist.
Former Parish branch chairs Jeff Apter and Jim Pollard paid this tribute:
Peter Avis, who has died in Brighton, was genuine and sincere in every matter save his age. He was actually 83.
Nominally London correspondent of L'Humanité, he divided his time between Brighton and Dieppe, where he had been made an honorary citizen. His Dieppe guide in English was what every guidebook should be: honest, amusing and charmingly quirky - just like its author.
He was in the NUJ for over 50 years and had recently been made a life member. He was on and off the Paris branch committee but whether a member or not, he made a bigger contribution to the branch than many who were. The fact that he travelled from Dieppe to Paris for pretty much every meeting and dinner of the branch and to Brussels while a delegate to the Continental European Council tells you all you need to know about his commitment to our organisation.
Peter Avis - picture by Jeff Apter
To us, he was one of the genuine good guys. He never lost his faith in a future world that would put people before profit yet never lived in the past. He was generous, interesting and interested and any conversation with him was generally educational, well-lubricated and hilarious in roughly equal proportions. The Dieppe coach trips he organised for his many friends were much the same.
His appearances at the Paris branch Christmas parties were legendary with the Wild Rover and The Man That Waters The Workers' Beer particular crowd-pleasers. Sadly, his fine ear for wit and language was not matched by one for music. But then Peter never took himself too seriously.
You can still see Peter's blog online at dieppe.fr where it is being kept open 'as a tribute to the one who was doubtless the best ambassador of Dieppe with the British.' His journalism also appeared in the Observer (for over 30 years), the Guardian, the Morning Star, the Brighton Argus, the BECTU members’ magazine and local papers in the UK and France. A really wonderful man and we will miss him and his twinkling smile enormously.