A LEGENDARY figure in Swindon radical politics is celebrated in a new book.

Angela Gradwell, who died in 1994, aged 88, has a chapter devoted to her in Wiltshire’s Radical History, published by White Horse (Wiltshire) Trades Council.

Its author, Rosie McGregor, is the lifelong activist’s biographer, having published Angela Remembered in 2015.

Angela, like husband Ike, was a familiar figure to generations of Swindonians thanks to her relentless campaigning on behalf of those she believed oppressed and against those she believed oppressors.

In fact, her life was even more remarkable.

As a member of the England Ladies Hockey team, for example, she staged a lone protest at the 1936 Olympics in Germany by refusing to give a Nazi salute. She was never chosen to represent her country again.

The author notes in Wiltshire’s Radical History: “She was a complex character with a history of militancy and radical politics whose disparate experiences encompassed playing hockey for England, qualifying as the first female solicitor in Bristol, writing for various left wing publications, as well as writing books, plays, songs and poems, singing and playing concertina. All pursued with the same unswerving passion she had felt when joining the Communist Party as a young woman.”

Angela Mary Tuckett came from a well-to-do Bristol family. Her father was a solicitor and her grandfather a tea merchant.

The family also had a history of independent political thought; a maternal aunt, for example, had been a socialist and women’s rights advocate who was among the founders of the Independent Labour Party, an organisation which remained independent from the mainstream Labour Party until the 1970s.

Angela’s earliest memory, according to her chapter in Wiltshire’s Radical History, was of sitting on Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst’s knee.

Her first husband was a Marxist university lecturer, John Gustave Pilley, whose circle of friends helped to confirm the political and moral standpoints she was forming.

Angela later took on, among other roles, those of journalist, peace campaigner and legal advisor to human rights organisations, and moved to Swindon after meeting her second husband, Ike, and described him ever afterwards as the love of her life.

Wiltshire’s Radical History is priced at £7.50. Copies can be obtained for £10, including postage and packing, from the publisher, WaterMarx Media, whose website is watermarxmedia.yolasite.com