Socialists and Unison union activists were greatly saddened to hear that our comrade and colleague Ben Drake passed away recently.
Ben was a stalwart of his union branch which he chaired for many years, fighting long and hard over issues such as the “single status” national pay deal.
Ben helped many individuals, representing them in disciplinary matters, assisting with grievances and sorting out ill health retirement.
He also became an outstanding expert on the local government pension scheme.
At regional Unison meetings he always spoke persuasively in support of other branches, most notably the Kirklees social workers.
For many years he sold Socialist Worker in the York council offices.
And we know from conversations with workers that Ben gave them the confidence to resist the cuts.
Ben also played a leading role in Unite Against Fascism in York.
Ben often wrote incisive letters to Socialist Worker and Socialist Review and was a party member to the end. Throughout his life, his practice was guided by socialist theory.
Our recent conversations with Ben remained incredibility engaging and his scope and depth of knowledge simply outstanding.
We should not have to lose someone so young but having done so we must be inspired by his life.
All our condolences and thoughts go to Jane, his wife and great friend, and all who knew him.