Lifelong socialist and local legend Colin Toogood – perhaps better known locally as “leather thong man” – has died at the tragically young age of just 53.
Here’s his obituary from the Socialist:
Socialist Party members in Bristol are sad to report the sudden death of long-standing comrade Colin Toogood.
He and I attended the same school and I first came across him one day when I entered a classroom and found him chalking ‘Long live Karl Marx’ on the blackboard. A few years later he became a supporter of Militant, never once wavering thereafter in his commitment.
Colin suffered a very difficult childhood without any support from social service or educational agencies and as a result did not always find it easy in later life to consistently fit into the expectations of mainstream society, or conventional dress codes. As soon as the sun appeared in the sky, his shorts (and boy, were they short) would appear. As spring turned into summer, even these were prone on occasion to disappear!
Whatever these secondary idiosyncrasies however, his dedication to building our forces was demonstrated over and over again by his incredible financial generosity. Inheriting £20,000 in 1988, he donated half of that to the CWI to finance its first steps in building a section in the former Soviet Union. The other half of the money was given two years later to the Federation of anti-Poll Tax Unions. So, he helped to topple both Stalinism and Margaret Thatcher. An epitaph I know he would be very pleased with.
You can have revolutionaries both wise and ignorant, intelligent or mediocre as Trotsky once observed, but the most effective revolutionaries are those that face down obstacles both personal and political, always strive to give the best they can of themselves and are prepared to back their understanding with deeds and self-sacrifice.
Colin triumphed over the traumas of his childhood and ultimately found in our party a positive purpose to his life and a role he could faithfully fulfil.
by Robin Clapp
Rest in peace comrade.