In Arundel, we looked forward with excitement to the re-opening of the re-furbished Co-operative Store. I have a personal reason for excitement: My brother’s book, SIGNOR ROY, described in the Co-operative News as‘ A British pioneer of the (Co-operative) Movement in Italy, plans to be re-launched in Arundel Co-op later this year.
The first paragraph in an article by Anca Voina in the Co-operative News reads: When the United Natons declared 2012 as International Year of theCo-operatives, a great opportunity presented itself to raise global awareness of the Movement’s Pioneers.
Roy MacGregor-Hastie was one of these.’
Bored with work and life in London, in the 1960s Roy moved with Olga, his Italian wife to spend time with her parents in Alessandria. Soon, ‘Signor Roy’, as the peasants came to call him, found himself wanting to make a difference to the agricultural region of Monferrato, and he became a ‘peasants’ advocate’. The lack of existing working co-ops in Italy, he believed, was due to the fact that the Italian peasant did not have a co-operative mentality.
He set about changing all that! He spoke at public meetings, wrote for publications such as La Stampa and La Gazzetta del populo. Despite disapproval and suspicion shown by the political class in Italy, Roy persevered, forming the first Agricultural Producers’ Co-operative in the area, and bringing real prosperity to it. Interestingly, his work not only transformed the peasants’ lot in Monferrato; it changed my brother’s life and outlook , in the process.
The Co-operative News calls ‘Prof. Roy’s book ‘a must-read, not only for so-operators, but for anyone with an interest in international social history, the influence of journalism, and Italian society’. His sister would add: And anyone who likes a thumping good story!
(Like her brother, Sandra is an established poet and writer. She lives in Arundel, attends and serves the Parish and Priory Church of St Nicholas in Arundel, and actively involves herself in the concerns of the wider community.)
A British Pioneer of the Co-operative Movement in Italy
by Roy MacGregor Hastie
£12.50 hardback 256 pages
SPECIAL PRE-PUBLICATION OFFER
To: SMH BOOKS 14 Caen Stone Court Queen Street Arundel BN18 9FE
Please accept payment of £10.00 per copy for ------- copy/ies of SIGNOR ROY.
tel. (for notification of publication)
Cheques to be made payable to S M H Saer**Payment may also be made by Paypal
Note: £1.00 off the sale of every copy will go to Arundel Co-op,
for a charity of their choice.
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