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OBITUARY: Mick Woods

OBITUARY: Mick Woods

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Close friend and comrade Mick Woods has died at the early age of 64.

Born near Southend, Mick lived in Manchester and London, before settling in Denmark. Or, as his Facebook page says “too many places to mention”.

Mick also moved around a bit between political organisations on the left. But he preferred action to sitting in meetings. Whether in support of the 84-85 miners’ strike, fighting fascists on the streets or campaigning against the Poll Tax, Mick was always in the front line.

I well remember the time when, after a period on the dole, we both got new jobs on the same day, me on the railways, Mick with a small engineering firm. Within 2 days we were both on strike. But Mick never got his job back, whereas the NUR strike was over the same week.

 Mick was elected a Labour Councillor for Carlton (now part of Kilburn) ward in Brent in 1986 as part of a fightback by the left in local government. He and other councillors refused to vote for cuts and were “disciplined” for their principles.

In 1993, Workers’ Aid was formed to support the fight to keep Bosnia multinational at a time when it was under siege from the Serbian army. Mick volunteered to drive convoys of aid to the embattled miners of Tuzla in Bosnia. In all, Mick drove to Tuzla 25 times. At his funeral in Aarhus, his courage as a convoy leader was emphasised.

During this time, Mick met Lone. He moved to Denmark and they had a daughter, Ina. Their relationship did not last but Mick was immensely proud, in his understated way, of how Ina developed into a proudly independent politically active woman. It was a sad irony he was not able to hear that she had addressed the final rally of the Fourth International youth camp in Denmark on behalf of the host delegation just 10 days after his death.

Mick kept in touch with some friends in Britain both on line and through mutual visits.

Since Mick’s death, many tributes have been paid; remembering his love of birdwatching, poetry and food as well as his militant activity and his extensive knowledge of politics and history. Many remember Mick’s generosity, which I can vouch for, having slept on the floor of his one bed Council flat when I was homeless. John McDonnell recalls fondly Mick working with him at the Greater London Council.

Always suffering health issues – with psoriasis often covering his whole body – recently Mick developed sclerotic arteries, which eventually led to both his legs being amputated. He became severely depressed and eventually died in hospital.

A memorial event for Mick will take place in London on Friday September 7th. More details can be got from me via Briefing.

Mick would have echoed the words of Joe Hill “Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize.”

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The wake/memorial gathering for Mick Woods will be on

Friday 7th September, 7-10 p.m.

Marian Community Centre, 1 Stafford Road, London NW6 5RS 

The venue is about 10 minutes walk from Queens Park and Kilburn Park (Bakerloo line) and Kilburn High Road on the London Overground (Euston-Watford line).

Buses 6, 16, 31, 32, 36, 98, 206, 316, 328, 332 all pass within 10 minutes walk

There will be (Indian finger) food and a pay bar (including soft drinks)

As well as the opportunity to socialise, meet old friends, chat about memories of Mick, the intention is to have an open mic where those who want to can share memories of Mick with everyone.

Unfortunately, some who would like to won’t be able to make this date. This would be inevitable whatever the date. If you can’t make it, but would like memories of Mick to be read out please either pass them to a friend who you know is coming, or email them to me. If you haven't already, you can also post memories of Mick in the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/225855551393330/

R.S.V.P. so we can have an idea of numbers to cater for.

If out-of-London comrades need accommodation for the Friday night, please get in touch.

If you have questions, please contact me, petefirmin@btinternet.com

For those who don’t know, the Marian Centre is where Carlton branch Labour Party held its meetings during the period when Mick was a local Councillor, and is directly opposite Austen House, the tower block where Mick lived for a period.

There will be a box for voluntary donations to cover costs on the night.

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