I attended Harrow Pensioners' Forum meeting on Wednesday, April 23, at the Civic Centre to commemorate the first state pension in 1908 - the 100th anniversary.

The first speaker was Joe Harris, president of the National Pensioners' Convention, who spoke of the annual Pensioners' Parliament held in Blackpool - where 2,000 pensioners representing British pensioners' organisations decide on the year's activities.

The main event was to be the anniversary of the first state pension. The campaign in December 1898 was instigated by the Reverend Stead, a Christian Socialist at a meeting in Southwark at which Charles Booth - an anti-poverty campaigner - was the main speaker.

The campaign lasted 10 years and resulted in older people's rights to an income that would end the spectre of poverty.

Finally on August 1, 1908, The Old Age Pension Act became law with a non-contributary pension of five shillings a week for men and women aged 70 and over.

Other speakers were Mervyn Kohler from Help the Aged, Lily Burden from Harrow Pensioners' Action Association, Zenda Green from the Age Concern Harrow and a speaker from the Pension Service.

There were many questions from the audience of 130 people and the meeting was a great success.

Lily Burden

Uppingham Avenue,