Council housing champion dies
Alan Walter, the devoted tenant activist and chair of Defend Council Housing, has died, aged 51.
Friends and colleagues today paid tribute to Mr Walter, of the Peckwater Estate, north London, who had campaigned on housing issues since the 70s.
Austin Mitchell, Labour MP for great Grimsby, described him as the ‘inspiration and the driving force’ behind Defend Council Housing.
The group campaigns against the transfer of council homes to housing associations, and for direct government investment in council housing.
He told Inside Housing: ‘What he has done is draw what was a minority campaign into the political mainstream and get the backing of a substantial number of members of parliament.’
The campaign has had major successes in recent months, with both the prime minister and the housing minister promising support for a new generation of council homes, he continued.
He added: ‘It is particularly sad that – I think – we shall now win, he put us in that situation, and he won’t see the fruition of it.’
Candy Udwin, Mr Walter’s former partner and the mother of his son, Joe Udwin, 23, said he had died suddenly at his desk on Saturday evening, while working on the campaign.
She said: ‘I think his real legacy was that he convinced and inspired people to believe that they could fight to change things – that if you saw something that was wrong you didn’t have to put up with it.
‘And he always thought that you could do more than just do something about it – you could win.’
Mr Walter is survived by his partner Anne Drinkell and his son Joe.
A post mortem is due to be conducted this week.
A memorial service for Alan will be held on Monday 16 March, see here for more information