Skip to main content

Leicestershire Vegetarian
& Vegan Group


Join us for friendship, food and fun


Friendship, food and fun

We’re a social group which meets up for meals, walks and other social events.  Please see our social media pages (links are top right of this page) for info about upcoming get-togethers, or join our newsletter list (bottom of this page) for details about events.

Everyone is welcome!

Donald Watson Heritage Panel

Donald Watson’s contribution to veganism has been recognised with a Heritage Panel in Leicester.

Donald Watson and his wife Dorothy coined the word “vegan” while living in Leicester in the 1940s.  Donald went on to co-found the organisation which become The Vegan Society, which is a thriving organization today promoting veganism and providing information to vegans in the UK and further afield.

Watson lived on Evesham Road in Leicester so the Heritage Panel has been located on Evesham Road, at its junction with Narborough Road, a busy main road into Leicester from junction 21 of the M1.

The panel includes the history of veganism, Donald Watson’s link to Leicester and some information about his life.  He became vegetarian at the age of 14 after witnessing the slaughter of a pig on his uncle’s farm.  Moving to Leicester to work as a woodwork teacher he then learnt about milk and egg production and started eating a vegan diet, without it yet having a name to describe it.

In 1944 Donald Watson held a meeting with interested members of the Leicester branch of the Vegetarian Society to discuss their dietary and ethical choices.  Vegans at that time were called ‘non-dairy vegetarians’.

When creating a new term for their way of life, rejected words included ‘dairyban’, ‘vitan’, and ‘benevore’.  Donald and Dorothy eventually came up with the word vegan which is created from the first three and last two letters of ‘vegetarian’. In the words of Donald Watson, it marked “the beginning and end of vegetarian”.

At the first meeting, which took place on Evesham Road, was Gaby Roberts.  Her daughter, Sue Daniels, set up the current Leicestershire Vegetarian & Vegan Group in 2001.  Jamshed is a member of the group and says “I’m pleased Donald Watson is being recognised in this way. He’s an important figure in the history of veganism and Leicester. So many people will be surprised to know the word vegan originated in Leicester.”