I have known and liked Kevin for about 25 years. In the early 80 s we worked together in the Socialist Workers Party. Then there was a period when we met only very occasionally and in more recent times we ran in the same group of runners the access warriors. All the time that I have known him a few adjectives come to mind. Kind, friendly, warm, strong and with a guiding moral sense at his core. And I must not forget his strong sense of humour. Even today I cannot picture his face without a smile on it. The fact that so many people have come here today, and there are others who for various reasons could not come, including those in London who are thinking of him makes me think that we all have pretty much the same idea.
Kevin’s powerful sense of right and wrong showed itself even when he was at school. He was a member of the socialist group called Rebel and active in Schoolkids Against the NAZIS. He and a group of mates would dash from one place to another giving out leaflets, and having discussions to explain why the National Front was a NAZI Front and how it was wrong to pick on people who happened to have a different skin colour.
When he became a student nurse at Middlewood
he campaigned on hospital type issues like the pay dispute in 1982; but he also
campaigned for other groups like the printers at
I asked a friend what I should concentrate on when discussing his socialist activities. She paused and said “It is so difficult he was everywhere.”
I do want to say a few words about Kevin’s style of leadership. He was not one of those who stand up with flowery words nor was he driven by a huge ego. The way Kevin led was very quiet. He would discuss the pros and cons of an action, starting from a sense of right and wrong. Because he showed respect to whomever he was talking to and listening to everyone respected him. There was a sense that if Kevin said it was OK to do it, it must be OK. He was a real leader.
In the late 80s Kevin drifted out of active party politics. His energies went into job and family; but we kept on bumping into each other. After one particular gap of a year or so I vividly remember the feeling. After two minutes or so it was like there had been no gap. That moral sense of right and wrong was just as strong as ever. His active politics had been taken into his job. His sense of humour was undiminished as well. It was always a pleasure to be with him.
When he took up running it was not an accident that he ran with a group who came together to get greater access to the Mooreland The access warriors. His commitment to a better world never left him.
The last time we ran, we went out to Burbage Edge. He quietly described how the medics had done all they could, how the cancer had been halted for a short time and that when it returned it would kill him. As he looked out on the lovely scenery of Higger Tor and Carl Wark, he was soaking up the beauty for what was probably the last time. I remember feeling what a disgusting disease that could take Kevin so young when he had so much to give to, and receive from the world. It is so unfair that Kevin died so young when there are so many swine out there that seem to live for ever.
I think that everyone who knew Kevin will feel sad that he is dead. All those who were touched by him over the years are that much poorer without him. I find it helpful to think also that we are that much richer for having known him.