Rich Silby
Rich Silby

On the 8 August, Richard Silby passed away after a short battle with cancer. Rich was known for his wicked sense of humour, love of his leather jacket and passion for music.

He joined the Socialist Party in 2008 while a student at Hull University. Throwing himself into the political battles brought on by the financial crisis of 2007-08, Rich became a tireless activist for Socialist Students as well as the Socialist Party.

I remember myself and Rich, alongside other comrades, being on the student demo on 10 November 2010. It was at the time the biggest demonstration we’d seen since joining the Socialist Party, and the feeling of power felt in the aftermath of the Con-Dem government was shared by all becoming politically active at the time.

Rich was a part of the wave of occupations that followed in response to the proposed tripling of tuition fees, intervening on behalf of the Socialist Party. 

Rich moved to Leeds where he remained an active member of the Socialist Party, and where, once again, we were both on the march. This time, however, rather than a demo around London we, alongside other Youth Fight for Jobs activists, undertook a 75-year anniversary recreation of the Jarrow March for Jobs. Rich was always around for a chat, a laugh, and always had a way of finding humour despite the sometimes difficult slog of the 330-mile march. 

Rich ended up moving to Bournemouth and drifted away from political activism – we’d lost touch apart from the occasional message until I bumped into him at a Hull City game which somewhat inevitably ended up in a heavy City defeat. Rich moved back to Hull in late 2018, he was always friendly to comrades stopping for a chat when passing our campaign stall. 

 Unfortunately, Rich was diagnosed with a stage 3 melanoma in June. He had nothing but praise for the NHS and it staff during his treatment. He fought the cancer with the ferocity those who knew Rich would’ve expected. He was determined to prove the doctors wrong up to the end of his life.

The last message Rich sent to me during his battle summed up his attitude till the end and a moniker to live by. He said quite simply and aptly: “Keep fighting comrade. The struggle lives on.”    

Rest in Power Comrade