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Brian Northey 1940-2020

On behalf of his friends, family and comrades, Bernadette Gallagher and Robert Poole salute the life-long international socialist, anti-fascist and 'the scourge of employers across Bolton and beyond'

NORTH-WEST England is mourning the sad loss of a great trade unionist and Labour Party member Brian Northey, who sadly passed away in his sleep this week.

Brian was a life-long international socialist and anti-fascist; he was a former Communist Party member who joined Labour in the mid-1980s.

Brian served his time as an apprentice engineer from 1955 to 1961. When he left he made a career at Thomas Ryders, from where he was made redundant in 1980. He was president of Bolton & District Trades Council during the ’70s and ’80s and played a pivotal role during the miners’ strike.

Brian worked for Unite for 20 years as a full-time officer, which involved industrial tribunals and medical appeals, as well as negotiating wages and conditions. He retired in 2004 but for two years carried on assisting with medical appeals. 

As a former district official of Unite he was fundamentally opposed to the appointment of union officials and was proud to say he had been elected to the then Amalgamated Engineering Union.

Brian was well-read including being an avid Morning Star reader and had a keen interest in international issues. He was an accomplished chess player and had a reputation as a tough amateur footballer in his day.  He was instrumental in the campaign against the National Front in Bolton in the seventies, putting himself in harm’s way in the endeavour to drive them out of Bolton.

He came from a humble background and struggled financially for many years with a young family after being blacklisted for trade union activities. As a consequence, he fought all his life for the repeal of anti-trade union legislation.

In 2016 Brain was awarded the Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Socialism by the Bolton Socialist Club. In his nomination he was described as “The scourge of employers across Bolton and beyond” it was said that he always put the members first.

In his retirement he remained actively involved in his community as a school governor, trades council delegate, pensioners association delegate, Labour Party chair and chair of Bolton Unite branch. It is the view of many in the Labour Party, and an opinion shared by many beyond, that Brian was the finest full-time official the town has ever seen.

Known simply as Northey to his members and friends who he served with dedication, commitment and passion, Brian’s contribution to improving the life of so many is immeasurable.

Bolton North East Labour Party would like to pass on their condolences to his wife Lynn, daughter Anne and son John.

RIP Brian.

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