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Lord Joffe visits the Small Business Hub with Sue Stockdale, a Women into Enterprise tutor
Lord Joffe visits the Small Business Hub with Sue Stockdale, a Women into Enterprise tutor

Internal News - 29 September 2006

Eminent local peer visits Oakfield

Lord and Lady Joffe met staff from across the spectrum of projects and activities at Oakfield when they visited the campus on Thursday 28 September.

Lord Joffe CBE, a former human right lawer who defended Nelson Mandela, is an active crossbench peer in the House of Lords and he and his wife live in Liddington, south-east of Swindon.

Dr Faith Butt, Director of Oakfield introduced Lord and Lady Joffe to projects at the campus including the courses and activities run by the Centre for Lifelong Learning; the business ventures at the Innovation Centre; and the local theatre development project run by TheatreWorks.

The Centre for Lifelong Learning runs a wide range of part-time day and evening courses open to all, from archaeology to yoga. This summer it ran two more Creative Art Weeks, aimed at helping local school children to find out about going on to university.

The Innovation Centre provides state-of-the-art facilities to support start-up technology-based businesses and entrepreneurs. It gives clients access to business know-how and university resources and provides mentoring, advice and networking opportunities.

TheatreWorks is a partnership organisation to develop local theatre. Theatre venues and partners in education and local authority are working to provide a focal point for existing theatre activity and a springboard for new theatre activity.

Lord Joffe was awarded the CBE in 1999 and made a life peer the following year. Through his peerage and charity work he actively pursues his interests in human rights, healthcare and international development.

Lord Joffe’s career began as a human rights lawyer in South Africa. In 1964 he represented Nelson Mandela in the infamous Rivonia Trial.

After the trial he and his family fled South Africa for England. Lord Joffe became Director of Abbey Life Assurance Company in 1965 and in 1971 he was appointed Director of Allied Dunbar, later to become its Deputy Chairman.

Lord Joffe was Chairman of Oxfam between 1995-2001 and chaired The Giving Campaign between 2001-2004. Locally he is patron of Swindon Cares.

In February 2003 he proposed as a Private Member’s Bill the ‘Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill’ which would legalise physician-assisted dying. After deliberation by a Lord’s committee the bill was put forward again in October 2005.