With the sudden and unexpected death of Keith Chadwick, Burnley & Pendle Socialist Workers Party (SWP) lost a vital and much-loved comrade.
Keith was at the heart of political activity in the north west of England for nearly 40 years.
His contribution towards making socialism, trade unionism and anti-racism a part of everyday life here has been immense.
An engineer by trade, Keith spent his entire life in that industry, working for different firms in East Lancashire where he made many lifetime friends. He broke with his conservative background to join the SWP in 1983.
He saw the need for opposition to Margaret Thatcher’s attacks on unions and the working class.
Having made that commitment, he remained a dedicated member of the SWP for the rest of his life.
He never lost sight of the need for activity that connected with a wider audience.
Being political meant discussion, but for Keith it also meant getting to picket lines and town centre petitions, speaking up at public meetings and going on demonstrations.
He always booked the coach and secured trade union donations.
He played a major role in pushing back the fascist British National Party in Burnley and was a stalwart supporter of Stand Up To Racism.
He campaigned for the rights of the Palestinian people.
Kind, enthusiastic and with a great sense of humour, Keith never lost his belief in the possibility of a better world.
He made a real difference in the fight to win that world—and he will be greatly missed.
Richard MacSween Burnley and Pendle SWP
We are sad to have lost Keith who was a great and loveable friend.
He was the equalities officer and a long-serving member of the Burnley Unite branch and its predecessor unions.
These are the National Society of Metal Mechanics, Tass, MSF, and ASTMS.
Keith represented the Branch and spoke at the Tass union conference.
He supported many trade union and socialist causes.
They ranged from the Miners’ Strike, the Warrington print strike, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and other anti-war campaigns, to opposition to racism and fascism.
Keith was arranging a delegation from our branch to go over to support the Westex carpets strikers.
And he was organising support for a protest at the Cop26 climate change summit in November in Glasgow.
Keith was a Marxist socialist and trade unionist who fought for what he believed in and was not deterred.
Peter Billington, Secretary, Burnley Unite Branch