Comrades will be saddened to hear of John Wangford’s death. He was a committed socialist and trade union activist, who was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and died at the tragically young age of 49.
When I first met him in St Albans in the early 1980s he was in the Labour Party Young Socialists. But during the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike he joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). He was very active in the our local miners’ support group, which was twinned with Newstead Colliery in Nottingham.
In St Albans SWP branch, he was particularly enthusiastic about anti-apartheid and anti-fascist work. He helped drive the National Front off the streets of Hemel Hempstead.
He was also a mainstay of the St Albans anti-poll tax campaign.
He was a porter at St Albans hospital, and a brilliant shop steward from 1985 to 1991. The porters became the most militant section in the hospital. John could deliver a superb speech off-the-cuff.
He did an access course and went on to Sheffield Hallam University—where he did a dissertation on a Marxist history of football.
He became a history teacher, first in comprehensives in Luton, then later in the Southampton area.
Although he gradually slipped out of political activity, when you talked to him the politics were always spot-on.
John was larger than life. We’re going to miss him. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
Funeral: 1.45pm, Friday 26 February, Wessex Vale Crematorium, Bubb Lane, Southampton SO30 2HL. Then go to Holiday Inn Southampton, Leigh Road, Eastleigh, SO50 9PG