Jo Opie


26 July 1930 to 5th February 2010.

Jo Opie was a feminist,socialist,Anglican, squatter,church warden,lesbian ,social worker and above all humanitarian.

Born in
Wales to upper class parents she was an only child.Educated with a governess her parents separated when she was 15 and she went to live with friends and went to school to study for O levels.

She read sociology at
Bristol University and became a social worker with children.In 1956 she took a party of her teenage clients to The Blackboard Jungle the notorious film featuring Rock Around the Clock and credited with inspiring delinquency.  'They enjoyed it she said and I donít think it did them any harm'. 


An early opponent of to censorship, she formed Islington MIND with Ann Rouse and was its Chair for 15 years.Until she was physically unable to travel even with a walker in August 2009, she remained a reception volunteer two afternoons every week.  She was also a consultant for the Crisis Line.

In 1990 Jo joined Feminists Against Censorship (a group opposing censorship from a feminist perspective) and remained an active member; she also joined the anarchist sexual liberation group the Lesbian and Gay Freedom Movement. She was always a figure at SM Pride.

Jo was very unusual in rejecting 20th century technology, a lover of Pre-Raphaelite painting, she was also a friend of the poet John Betjeman.Her great love was reading especially social history,psychology, poetry and children's fiction.  She felt machines interfered with concentration.  She had no car, computer, oven, fridge, television, radio, music player, central heating, microwave, washing machine or landline telephone but could ride a horse.

Above all Jo was someone who felt passionately about the value of every human being. She believed there were bad deeds not bad people and she practiced this in her own life having close relationships with people with very serious mental health problems and those who had committed serious crimes.

She was pre-deceased by her partner Sue Smith in the early 2000s.


Humour, kindness, courage, friendship and humility, Jo was a remarkable woman.

We were all lucky to have known her.