Socialists in Sheffield felt a great loss last week on hearing of the death of Brian Wilson. A born fighter, Brian led an inspired campaign to save homes on the Shirecliffe estate-protesting on the rooftops, blocking streets and leading a town hall invasion.
In the 2001 general election Brian stood as the Socialist Alliance candidate for Brightside. During his long battle against cancer, he played a leading role in Sheffield Defend Council Housing, defending what-in his words-had been built 'from the sweat of those who worked in the hot muck of Sheffield's factories'. In his spare time, when not entertaining his grandchildren, he led another campaign to expose and shut down a toxic tip.
Despite his illness, Brian remained active, and was constantly featured in the local press. His heart burnt so strongly at the injustice of things he saw that he refused to sit back, regardless of what his doctors advised. Brian was his own person-the only activist I ever met who put out leaflets with poems on the back. He had more personality than the entire New Labour front bench.
His memory will continue to inspire those of us who knew him, and our thoughts go to Jean and to his family.