The following letter from Ray Sutton was published in the Loughborough Echo Letters Page.
Further to the tributes you published last week following the death of Geoff Gay, may I, as his friend and comrade of almost 50 years, add some further details?
From his youth Geoff was a man of the Left, totally dedicated to the cause of the working class. He lived his whole life in a fit of rage against social injustice and inequality and for thirty years before he joined the Labour Party, his political commitment led him to take part in a vast array of causes and campaigns.
Geoff fought for world peace and nuclear disarmament and opposed all forms of racial discrimination. Active in the National Union of Teachers, he also showed solidarity with other groups of workers in struggle. During the Miners Strike of 1984-5 he supported the Leicestershire ‘Dirty Thirty’, helping with the nightly food collections around Loughborough and putting up miners pickets from South Wales and County Durham for weeks on his living room floor.
Geoff obtained his qualifications to teach maths at Leicester University but he was also an active supporter of the Open University and tried as I do to foster education and debate in the wider community among people who have not had the same opportunities. Geoff’s passion for science led him to launch ‘Loughborough Logic’. He was also an active participant in the Socialist Forum and Left Unity and a founder of the still existing local political discussion group the ‘Friday Room’. One of the last campaigns Geoff was involved in was Unlock Democracy, a national movement to win Proportional Representation. He believed ardently that our present first-past-the-post voting system is unbalanced and unfair.
The numerous well researched letters Geoff wrote on these topics which the Echo published over the years were a joy to read. But until the very end he remained totally committed. In the last conversations I had with Geoff he spoke as a retired teacher of his opposition to privately run academy schools. He also thought the privatisation by stealth of the NHS under this government ought to be resisted and spoke of his sympathy for the junior doctors in their endeavours to win a fairer working contract.
Geoff’s allegiance to the Labour Party in his final years was never tainted by tribalism. He believed that the transition to a more just society would come about through the co-operation and direct action of the many, not merely the election of the few. Thus he tried to build a broad democratic alliance for social change and could list among his numerous friends, members of the local Green Party.
In an age of squalid political manoeuvres and compromise Geoff Gay stood out as a beacon of integrity. He was a real Socialist and valiant for truth. In the ranks of those who still campaign to achieve the ideals that inspired and motivated him, Geoff’s passing is a tragic loss.
Dr Ray Sutton MA
There will be a planning meeting in the Swan this Friday 6th May at 7:30. It would be good to see as many people as possible.