Anthony Richmond writes:
AS A retired journalist, I have much reason to be grateful for the life and work of former Chief Press Officer John Miles (News, 21 April).
When Archbishop Michael Ramsey visited the beleaguered church in apartheid South Africa in 1970, John and I struck up a good working relationship from the start. He asked me not to press the Archbishop too strongly for comments about apartheid at first. Dr Ramsey wanted to be as discreet as possible, not showing any political bias, while he attended the Anglican centenary celebrations and held meetings with senior people including Government leaders. In return, John promised that at the end, before they returned to London, all that would change. The Press could question Ramsey as fiercely as we liked and the Archbishop would speak out in no uncertain terms about what he had seen and heard there.
John was true to his word, and, additionally, gave me an exclusive interview with the Archbishop about his undercover meetings with banned anti-apartheid activists, meetings which the authorities had tried to prevent and conceal. The local publicity given to the Archbishop’s visits and his subsequent outspoken condemnation of government policy was immensely cheering to victims and opponents of apartheid, both Christian and non-Christian.
Years later, John was sympathetic and, with his wife, Judy, hospitable in helping me and my family to settle and find work in the UK.
A good man; may he rest in peace.