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Ben Ainley was a long-standing Manchester Communist and a teacher with 50 years of activity in the NUT and peace movement behind him.
After his retirement, he became involved in Unity Arts, a plan to establish adult learning classes in art, cinema, theatre, music and literature groups.
By early 1972, only the literature group was functioning but many workers had been encouraged to begin writing for themselves. From this, Ben Ainley founded and was first editor of VOICES, a journal devoted to publishing creative writing from working class authors.
VOICES came out five times over the next three years until May 1975 marked the start of regular production for a number of years, with a sub-title: "Working-Class Poetry and Prose with a Socialist Appeal". Ainley died, following a long illness, shortly after publication of its last issue.