Wilfred Rendall Page was born on 11th September 1913 at Newton St. Faith, Cotton, Norfolk, in great poverty. He joined the RAF as a pioneering aerial photographer during WW2. While inthe RAF he was won to the ideas of the CP. In 1945 hebecame the agent for Edwin Gooch, North Norfolk LabourMP and General Secretary of the National Union ofAgricultural Workers.
Page was elected as a Communist councillor in 1946 for Erpington on Norfolk Rural District Council, serving until government re-organisation in 1974.
His wife Christina Page (see separate entry) was a shop workers union activist and union executive, with whom he lived with his children John and Carol (Lorac) at Overstrand, Norfolk.
Wilf convenor of the Communist Party’s agricultural advisorycommittee, an Executive Committee member from 1967 to 1973, and Editorand regular contributor to the Party’s rural journal, `Country Standard’, which campaigned against low pay, and for the abolition tied cottages and nationalisation of theland.
A staunch member of the National Union of AgriculturalWorkers, he was finally elected to its executive in1969. Wilf was a key player in the move to merge with the T&G in1982 and a member of TGWU General Executive Council, representing rural workers, from 1982 to 1984.
Wilf Page wrote a number of pamphlets on agricultural issuesincluding “Farming to feed Britain”,a Communist Party booklet, in1976.
He remained as Chairman of Trunch TGWU until his death, Chairman of NorfolkCounty Council TradesCouncil. The organiser for many years of the annualBurstonSchool Strike celebrations, Wilf was noted for being an “electrifying public speaker”.
He also fronted the NUAAWcampaign for land nationalisation on TV and radio inthe early 1980s with great effect.
Becoming President of the European agriculturalworkers federation, he had to retire due to ill health in 1980.
In 1989, he set up a local pensioners’ movement, whichgrew into thousands covering the whole of East Anglia,finally becoming the first Vice President of theNational Pensioners Convention.
Despite being confined to a wheel chair (paid for by grateful union members) he continued to campaign. The last five years of his life were spent at Halseyhouse, British Legion nursing home in Cromer.
Wilf Page remained a committed Communist, however itwas said of him that he was “never the big Russian bear, but the community owning the wealth communist”.
At a Memorial at Norwich Labour Club in May 2001, attended by former TGWU General Secretaries Jack Jones andRon Todd, and Labour MP’s Ian Gibson and Gavin Strang.Jack Jones stated “I was always impressed by hiswonderfully simple and clearly stated approach toproblems of people, agricultural workers especiallyand pensioners more recently.”
Wilf died on 8th April 2001 aged 87 at Cromer, his funeral being held at St. Faith’s crematorium.
Sources: Morning Star April 10th 2001; Guardian April 20th2001, Eastern Daily Press April 10th, May 5th 2001, Country Standard
Right: Mike Pentelow’s book about Wilf Page, published in 2009
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