Canon John Collins, who served at St Paul’s Cathedral for 33 years, was the catalyst
for several of Britain’s most significant post-war social movements. He is best known
for his work in creating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Christian Action and
the Anti Apartheid Movement.
Canon Collins visited South Africa for the first time in 1954. In response to the
Treason Trial and the apartheid government’s increasingly repressive regime, Collins
established the Defence and Aid Fund to pay activists’ legal expenses and care for
their families. His initiative soon became an international network, secretly channelling
legal aid to activists including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.
The Canon Collins Trust was founded in 1981 to support education for refugees from
South Africa exiled in the UK. After his death in 1983, the Trust took Canon Collins’
name. It continues to represent his values of freedom, equality and social justice
by providing educational opportunities to southern Africa’s future leaders.
Click here to read an article about the International Defence and Aid Fund, written
by Denis Herbstein in 1991.
Click here to read about Ethel de Keyser, who lead the Trust for the first twenty-five