A leading member of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign has heaped praise on the community projects which have granted him a new lease of life after he spent 38 years of fighting the British establishment in the name of truth and justice.
James ‘Banty’ Nash, was a leading member of the Bloody Sunday campaign after his brother William was murdered by paratroopers and his father Alex was injured while attempting to go to his aid in January 1972.
Since the campaign and the Saville Inquiry concluded Banty said he had a “vacuum” in his life.
“I just had nothing to do. The campaign took years and years, then we had Saville and we could still be working on it but I have to sit back and see if Saville does its job.
“I’m not pressing for prosecutions because what will happen with the Public Prosecution Service and Police will happen. There is nothing we can do at this stage.”
Having spent long years “at the computer” researching Banty had by his own admission become a “recluse.”
It was through joining the Men’s Health group with the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership that he joined the Springtown Activity and Horticultural Group.
This was a move which James said has put him “back 45 years”.
“I’ve been given a real lease of life again.”
The campaigner had got in touch with the community health group after being diagnosed with a blood disorder.
“It is incurable, treatable but incurable in many ways the treatment is as bad. I’m on a course of chemotherapy which comes with a high risk but that is the treatment. Since I got involved with the men’s health group, being honest, I haven’t looked back. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we want.
“It has made me a better person, a healthier person, I’m out and about enjoying myself whereas before I would have been on the computer or head in papers for most of the day.
“All the boys in the group, all close and the craic couldn’t be better. It is great and I am enjoying life for the first time in quite a number of years.”
Don’t miss our feature on the Springtown Activity and Horticultural Group and their pans for the Marianus Glen on page 10.