Comrades in Greater Manchester were very sad to learn of the death of our comrade Ann Rose on 1 January aged 93.
Ann was a working class woman, who lived in Stockport all her life, and a tenacious fighter for socialism.
She left school to work in a local cotton mill and never forgot the hardships that mill workers endured. Comments about the fine architecture of the mills, closed but still standing in the town, would draw the same remark—“You wouldn’t think that if you had ever worked in one.”
Ann was a member of the Labour Party for many years and was active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament alongside her husband, Frank.
She was always keen to support those fighting for a better world. When the miners went on strike in 1984, Ann collected money and food for them in solidarity.
After her son Louis joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the late-1980s, Ann began to attend meetings and soon joined herself.
She often said that she wished she had found us sooner and, although she joined in later life, Ann did not let age hold her back.
She soon became a stalwart of the Stockport SWP Branch. If there was a picket line, a demonstration, or a paper sale, she would be there, always cheerful, whatever the weather.
Ann was active in the Anti Nazi League too. In 2003, Ann threw herself into the anti-war movement, marching in London against the invasion of Iraq.
She continued to be active, attending meetings and regularly selling Socialist Worker, well into her 80s.
Ann’s Irish heritage and her Catholic faith were important to her. However, her faith did not prevent her from adopting socialist ideas that conflicted with the church.
She was especially quick to criticise any church member who expressed bigotry or racism. She steadfastly stood up for gay rights and abortion rights. She would joke that she kept a foot in both camps—socialism and Catholicism—“just in case”.
Ann’s sense of humour and kindness made her great company. She had wide-ranging interests in Irish music, classical music, theatre and literature—she gained A-Level English at the age of 70. Many of us have happy memories of Ann at our Marxism Festival in London.
We remember Ann’s warm and sunny personality and her optimism that revolutionary socialism can win a better world. These are inspirational memories to take with us into future struggles.
We send condolences to Louis and Bilkis and their children, Ann’s grandsons, Ismail and Zain.
Helen Mayall, Phil Ramsell, Roseanne McNamee, Verity Walker-Sherriff, Tony Martin for Greater Manchester SWP