Donald Casson, a life-long socialist, died on 8 October after a long period of illness.
Don was a member of the Labour Party—at times both a councillor and an election agent. But he came to realise it was impossible to turn it into a socialist organisation.
So he joined the Socialist Workers Party in 1998.
As long as he could he continued to write letters to Socialist Worker and increase his huge book collection.
He was born in Liversedge on 2 November 1936, the son of a bus driver.
After his national service in the RAF, stationed in Osnabruck, West Germany, he worked as a teacher in Rochdale and Middleton.
Later he lectured in life sciences at Bournemouth University. He argued that the environment should be central to socialists, writing “We live in a greedy, exploitive, murderous, capitalist system—no socialism, no planet. Saving the environment is implied in the struggle for socialism, as shown in the writings of Marx, Engels or Luxemburg”.
After early retirement he moved to Barnoldswick and continued to work as a supply teacher for Lancashire schools.
His love of the great outdoors and desire to help people resulted in his joining the mountain rescue team.
He met my mum Audrey Farrell in the late 1990s and, along with his dog Bess, they spent very happy days walking in the countryside.
During the last year of her life, Don was a wonderful and supportive companion.
His other great love was jazz, particularly Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bessie Smith.
As his friend Chris Nolan said, if there was any epitaph it should be “You could always tell Donald but you could not tell him much”.
In typical Donald style he has donated his remains to Medical Science via the University of Liverpool so there will be no funeral.
However friends, family and comrades will be getting together in early November to remember his life. Please email [email protected] for details.
Anwar Ditta, a heroic anti-racist campaigner, died last week.