Chris Dean, a veteran member of the SWP in Shrewsbury, died peacefully in the early hours of 6 January after a courageous fight against cancer.
He was a greatly respected comrade who had fought all his adult life against exploitation, injustice, war and racism. He was a talented musician, was impressively well read on a whole range of subjects, particularly our movement, a much loved teacher and a friend to many people.
This was something that was obvious from the constant stream of visitors to his bedside in hospital and hospice in his final days.
He was a tireless member of peace groups over many years, always recognising the primary duty of a socialist to oppose attempts to pit worker against worker. The local campaign against the Afghan and Iraq wars which involved hundreds of people was created on the basis of his renowned address book.
He was also a founding member of the Anti Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism in Shrewsbury, and he was always there when the threat of racism and fascism needed to be countered, organising and attending street demonstrations or leafleting door to door.
He was a stalwart member of Telford Socialist Workers Party for many years, and he and I founded a paper sale and a branch in Shrewsbury, active in the late 1980s and 1990s, and contributed to by many comrades over the years. More recently he organised Respect public meetings in the town.
He was a courageous and determined man. When, for several years, he was the only party member living in the town he sold the paper on his own week in and week out.
He would also get up at unearthly hours to sell Socialist Worker at shift changeovers at the Post Office sorting office and a local engineering plant.
There is no doubt that for many people over many years Chris Dean represented socialism in Shrewsbury.
He was also a tremendously kind and gentle person who will be missed by many.
Even as he was being cared for in his final hours, drifting in and out of consciousness, he engaged his nurse in a discussion on Irish politics, and there is no doubt he would have sold a Socialist Worker or two if he could.
A Socialist Worker paper sale at his funeral will be a fitting tribute to a great socialist and much loved human being. He will be deeply, deeply missed by all who had the privilege to know him.
Our thoughts are with his surviving son Julian, whose love and support helped Chris throughout his illness, and his grandchildren who provided him with such great fun and comfort.