New year message from our president

Post date: 01/01/2023

IBMT President Marlene Sidaway writes…

Marlene Sidaway performing on stage in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, currently on tour. (

After the Covid years, 2022 was a year when we were finally able to meet again, enjoy each other’s company and more importantly remember and celebrate the International Brigaders in the way we have done since the IBMT was formed.

Beginning with the Len Crome Memorial Conference in Edinburgh in March, the commemoration in London’s Jubilee Gardens in July and the AGM in Manchester in October, things were almost back to normal – but lockdown has left its mark, often in unexpected ways. Events are now being filmed and shared online, thereby reaching many more members and supporters. An example is the ‘IBMT Conversation’ between our Founding Chair, Professor Sir Paul Preston, and Professor Helen Graham, chaired by our Historical Consultant, Richard Baxell. These have proved very popular and we hope they will continue.

We also have a growing number of affiliated memorial groups who stage their own events – talks, film shows, commemorative gatherings, concerts etc, all of which can raise funds for various projects and also support the IBMT. You’ll find their contact details here.

The IBMT has made great strides in the work we have been able to do in recent years, spreading the word in education and publishing as well as nourishing a network of people who make sure that the memory of the Brigaders and their efforts to defeat fascism continue to be an inspiration for future generations.

In order to do this, we need to increase our income. It’s not easy to ask for more financial support in these difficult times but our wider purpose is paramount, at a time when every news bulletin gives evidence of the inequality and injustices that thousands of people are suffering.  

We are also embracing new digital technology and recognising that many people – though not all – prefer or are quite happy to keep in touch with the IBMT via their computers, smartphones and other devices. If you haven’t already done so, explore our revamped website. We now plan to put the magazine online, while still leaving members with the option of receiving a printed copy.

When we started the Trust, there were over two dozen British and Irish veterans left. They had taken the decision that the memory of their comrades should continue for as long as possible, and there were many bereaved family members who agreed with them. These strong and purposeful people were the key to the formation of the Trust and many continue to work for it today.

During the last few months I have been touring up and down the country in ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and have been delighted to meet several groups of these IBMT stalwarts, whether in Glasgow, Manchester and the London region.

Please be as generous as you can with your financial support. Share the story, join an active group, recruit friends to the IBMT. Do whatever you can to help us to continue our work. Thank you and all good wishes for 2023.

Posted on 1 January 2023.

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