PETER LENAGHAN’S shop in Pontypridd was more than just a wholefood shop.
It was the focus of Peter’s politics as a Communist Party member and Morning Star supporter.
Loyalty reflected his bequest to both organisations. His friends and comrades, playwright Gareth Miles and author Gwyn Griffiths, were regular callers and the shop was always alive with political debate.
Peter’s commitment to socialism and our party was demonstrated by financial support and his involvement in progressive causes.
He translated his political principles into practical action; political by supporting the miners of Maerdy Lodge during the 1984-85 strike with donations of foodstuffs from his shop for the families of strikers, fundraising to support flying pickets and rallying to the human shield to defend the NUM headquarters in Pontypridd as Thatcher’s judges sequestered the union’s assets.
His last demo was a protest march in Cardiff against Tory austerity and their welfare benefits cuts.
There was also a practical side to his politics as for several years he was a trained volunteer in the local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Right up to his death he remained a political activist. Failing health in his later years curtailed his political activity, but he was always a loyal reader of the Morning Star and a determined advocate for peace and socialism.
Peter was proud of his Irish and republican heritage and just a week before his death celebrated his mother being awarded her certificate of Irish citizenship.
The shop that he ran for 20 years still trades, now as a Community Benefit Society reflecting his ideals.
In tribute to him it is named Pete’s Shop. Peter’s popularity with both customers and those who worked there is reflected in the renaissance of the shop after the devastation of the flood of February 2020 which destroyed it.
After Peter’s death the shop manager and a group of customers who were worried about the shop closing came together to purchase the shop and transform it into a Community Benefit Society a form of co-operative.
So the shop is now collectively owned and operates as it did with Peter, providing ethical foods sourced via workers’ co-operatives and smaller, local suppliers.
Mick Antoniw, member of the Welsh Parliament for Pontypridd, writes: “Peter Lenaghan was a product of south Wales socialist politics.
“A radical thinker, a Welsh communist, an incorrigible spokesman for provocative and challenging ideas amongst the local Pontypridd business community where he ran his health food shop as a beacon of green and radical entrepreneurial principles.
“His legacy to us will see it continue as a local co-operative. Always a gentleman to all, he will be very missed in Ponty town.”
JOHN PATRICK LENAGHAN