Our longstanding and much loved comrade Ian Murray died unexpectedly last Friday of a suspected heart attack.
His constant good humour and unflappable manner, combined with very clear politics, made him a central figure in the Wolverhampton and Walsall branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
He has been key to so much of our activity, not least in rising to the challenge of combatting the fascist British National Party and English Defence League.
As a teacher Ian brought politics and optimism for over three decades into the NUT union and was Sandwell NUT general secretary before he retired. Yet retiring from teaching certainly didn’t mean retiring from the cause.
Ian was ever-present supporting the strikes at Small Heath school. Strikers said that his support and inspiration, coupled with his tea and camping stove, helped them to defeat academisation.
Ian led the big Stop the War Coalition in Walsall from 2003. He was driven by a sense that injustice anywhere should be fought and he avidly supported Palestinian freedom. As one of those arrested at last year’s protest against the Israeli owned Elbit arms factory he played an important but unassuming role in bringing together a defence campaign.
He and his partner Helena were about to go on another journey to the West Bank to include a stay with a teacher active in the recent month long strike there.
To lose Ian when he still had so much more to do is very hard. We will miss him enormously. Our thoughts are especially with Helena and daughter Hannah. He lives on with us in all that is to come.