By Norman Arnold – President of the IW Liberal Democrats
Peter Brand was a key figure in Island politics for some twenty years. He was the Island’s MP from 1997 to 2001. Winning a hard-fought campaign with the slogan “Choose Brand X” a cheeky take on popular adverts of the time.
Peter was the county councillor for Brading from 1984 until 1997, serving as deputy leader of the IW Council, as well as being a popular local GP. In Westminster, he was the Lib-Dem’s health spokesman, with his hands-on experience lending reality to much legislation in the period. A key and ultimately successful campaign of his, centered on the potential health impacts of the introduction of water metering on the Island. Originally the water companies wanted to have the power to cut off non-payers swiftly. Peter’s stalwart defence of the needs of clean water for public health avoided that potentially calamitous outcome.
For those of us fortunate enough to have worked with him, Peter taught us the importance of speaking up for those who struggle to find their own voices in a confusing and challenging world. He wore his knowledge lightly, was courteous and approachable at all times and had a gift for getting people to open up to him.
As well as being an active GP, Peter lectured in medicine at Southampton. Always practical and skilful with his hands, he even found time for some property development, insisting on doing much of the work himself.
His Dutch heritage helped explain his tremendous dry sense of humour. Peter could command a room with his presence. Indeed, as a medical student in Birmingham rthat’s how he caught the eye of his wife Jane, also a GP until her retirement.
A keen sailor, Peter even lived on his own boat that he moored on the Thames when he was the MP.
For such a public facing man he loved the privacy of family life and was a proud father and grandfather.
Sadly, after a life devoted to the health of others his own retirement has been cut short by illness, but his fighting spirit carried him through.
Peter touched the lives of many, if not most Islanders and always for the better.
Donations can be made in memory of Peter to parkinsons.org.uk