Former AWL member and long-standing sympathiser, Roy Webb, has died following a short illness.Roy had lived with multiple sclerosis and had been very seriously disabled by the condition for many years. But he never allowed the physical problems MS caused him to stop his campaigning activity. I remember seeing him outside a Sinn Fein meeting at the Friends Meeting House, Euston, having driven himself to the rally. He had real difficulty getting out of the car, never mind getting along the road and into the venue, but was determined to continue political activity.
Roy’s funeral, in Honor Oak, south east London, was attended by around 100 people including Southwark Labour Party members and a large number of disability rights activists. Roy had devoted much of his time in recent years to the fight for equality and adequate provision for those with disabilities.
Roy joined our organisation around 1987. I remember regular discussions in the Grove pub in Camberwell arguing about the Labour Party. We won him over to our Labour Party perspective and he signed up. He was a member of a large Socialist Organiser group in south London and helped produce a workplace bulletin for council workers in Southwark. He was particularly active during the poll tax battles among tenants on his estate on Dog Kennel Hill in Dulwich.
Although his activity in the AWL dwindled in the 90s he continued to turn up to our events, usually making sure he came to some of our annual summer school.
The notice handed out at his funeral included these words — comments made by those who knew him and comrades in various struggles. They seem to me strikingly true: “Roy never said no to anyone who needed help.”
“Roy once told me that there was so much he wanted to do in his life. He couldn’t possibly do everything, but he wanted to be able to look back on his life knowing he had done everything he possibly could.”
“Roy was a gentle, principled and thoroughly good man.”
“He was a committed socialist and trade unionist.”
“Roy never left anyone out on our journey for equal rights.”