Veggie Voices

Fascinating online exhibition tells stories of veg*n pioneers, past and present

The United Kingdom has a rich history of vegetarianism and veganism, with pioneers of the UK movement residing in Manchester as early as the 18th century.

Salford’s first MP was notably a passionate vegetarian, as was suffragette Leonora Cohen. More recent advocates include British businessperson, Deborah Meaden, and racing car driver Sir Lewis Hamilton – both vegan.

It’s predicted that by 2025, a staggering one quarter of the UK is going to be vegan. People in later life are a major part of this recent boom. A recent British Social Attitudes Survey suggests that older adults are twice as likely as 18–24-year-olds to have embraced meat reduction.

V for Life has been compiling a fascinating archive telling the stories of veg*ns. 

With the rich history along with present day popularity of meat-free diets, the exhibition is highly relevant, giving a voice to veg*ns, past and present. We, like everyone, hold views and values that deserve to be respected.

Rose Elliot MBE

The celebrated cookery writer and V for Life patron on the rise of plant-based living.

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Leonora Cohen OBE

A vegetarian suffragette with an inspiring legacy.

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Benjamin Zephaniah

"I just knew that I didn’t want to eat animals when I was 11, and when I understood the implications of using animal products, I went vegan."

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Stories of life within care settings for older veg*ns.

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If you are veg*n and required to take medication, you may face some difficult ethical decisions.

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Food Security

Access to a healthy, balanced diet is particularly important for older veg*ns. But, as we get older, we may find it harder independently to access what we need, or to meet the additional costs of doing so.

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Centenarian sisters

In 1956, vegetarian sisters Caroline & Jane Badland celebrated an important milestone.

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Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

“Food is central to our identity and I would hope that stays with us for however long we live."

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Donald Watson

The pioneering founder of The Vegan Society.

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Carol Royle

"I turned to my father, a steadfast meat-eater, and said I would never eat meat again."

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Joseph & Martha Brotherton

A nineteenth century vegetarian power-couple.

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Wendy Turner-Webster

"When you have a vegan diet/lifestyle at least you can gain comfort from not being a part of such dreadful suffering."

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Gary Webster

"I think generally more people of my age are embracing a plant based diet if only for health reasons."

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Becoming a vegan in later life

In 2018 VfL talked to 98-year-old Roy Burdin about choosing veganism in later life.

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Karin Ridgers

"Being vegan is my biggest core value. It would be abhorrent to me to not have my values respected. We all deserve to be treated with dignity."

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A special birthday

In 1967, The British Vegetarian reported on a very special birthday.

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Serena Coles

Her story was the inspiration for V for Life.

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Dr Barbara Sharp

"I’d want to be treated with an understanding that my dietary choices are especially meaningful to me. My food choices are much more than ‘preferences’ and should be respected like any other deeply held belief."

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Paul Youd

Octogenarian vegan athlete: "It’s never too late to go vegan."

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A vegetarian record-breaker

'Big' Bill Pickering, the vegetarian channel swimmer.

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Victoria Featherstone Pearce

"Veganism runs in my veins and in my heart so this would be extremely important to me that this would continue until the end of my days."

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Judy Ward

"We take animals for granted and once you realise you can live healthily and happily without the need to cause suffering to another being, it’s fantastic."

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Ray O'Leary

Ray found a way of making sure his beliefs would always be recognised.

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John Machin

"Plant foods are ideal for health and fitness; they’re what we naturally thrive on. Now in my seventh decade, I have never been fitter or healthier."

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If you’d like share your story as an older vegan or vegetarian, contact us at