Austin Burnett, who has died aged nearly 102, was a long-standing member of the Socialist Workers Party,remaining active in the party until well into his 80s.
Of Irish background, Austin was born in Hull to a single parent mother, and at 11 was sent to Canada, but then sent back to Britain and placed in an orphanage where he was brought up by nuns.
He returned to Canada where he worked as a farm labourer, and then, at the age of 22, accompanied Tom Mann, the great trade union leader, on a speaking tour.
For 12 years he was a chief steward on Blue Star Ferries.
Roger Cox remembers how in Brent SWP Austin talked of the urgent need in the 1930s to rebuild the union after the defeat of the General Strike.
Austin was a voracious reader and, despite failing eyesight, continued to read with a telescopic machine, devouring a wide range of different books—novels, history and politics. He also had a great sense of humour. When I saw him for the last time a few days before he died, he declared that we needed to set the world on fire.