Martin Walsh died last week from cancer. He was an inspirational teacher and trade unionist who fought all his life for a better world.
Martin joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in south London in the early 1990s, while training to be a teacher at South Bank University.
Along with his partner Claire Walsh (then Hill) he threw himself into anti-fascist work.
Comrades remember “a warm, witty and intelligent man, a great raconteur”, and that “Martin hadn’t entered left wing politics in a straightforward way, coming as he did from the transport police.
“He was a fiercely independent thinker, who really had to be convinced about a political argument or course of action. But he was someone you had enormous political trust in.”
Martin drifted out of the SWP when he and Claire moved up to the Blackpool area but he continued to be active. He threw his energies into building the National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Lancashire, and challenging racism and fascism.
He always had a wry smile when he knew he was right. He had that smile when we disrupted the Nazi BNP’s conference in Blackpool only a few years ago.
This year, Martin and Claire jointly won the NUT’s “Officer of the Year award” for their part in building the union and strikes against the Tories.
Despite his chemotherapy he remained a regular at street stalls.
Our deepest sympathies go to Claire, and to Martin’s daughters Bella and Lottie.