Keith Fry was one of those comrades on which all revolutionary organisations utterly depend.
Keith was a member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for 20 years.
Keith regularly sold Socialist Worker every Saturday in Wigan. He regularly attended meetings, regularly accepted any task that was needed to be done without griping, regularly offered to speak on topics at meetings, attend conferences, travel to lobbies and demos, turn up on picket lines.
All of his life he was a progressive socialist and committed trade unionist, finishing as Unison union steward at the local college where he worked as a technician.
He was our successful treasurer for all of his time in the party. Keith ensured that even as a small branch we could keep a high profile. He was our election agent for the Socialist Alliance (SA), when we fielded more candidates than any other SA in Britain.
He was an absolute rock when we needed numbers to carry a strategy.
He wasn’t charmed with the gift of the gab, didn’t throw his considerable weight around to make a point, and largely kept a low profile in the numerous activities he was involved in.
But he had his moments, and could with few words impact on a discussion.
The time when he floored the philosopher Alain de Botton when the latter came to Wigan to discuss “status” with Marxists was memorable. Needless to say, that was not included in the final televised documentary.
He left the Marxism festival on Sunday morning because he was feeling under the weather. By Wednesday he was no longer with us.
We will all miss him his gentleness and modesty. The party has lost a stalwart of considerable strength.