Trevor Grewar (right) with Tony Davison (left) marching in support of Liverpool dockers on strike in the 1990s
Trevor Grewar (right) with Tony Davison (left) marching in support of Liverpool dockers on strike in the 1990s

Mike Whale, Hull Socialist Party

It is with great sadness that Hull Socialist Party and Unite activists announce the death of Trevor Grewar after a battle with cancer. Trevor was a stalwart of the Socialist Party in Hull and played a key role in the 1990s and early 2000s keeping Marxist ideas alive in the labour and trade union movement.

He is perhaps remembered most for the legendary political partnership he struck up with Tony Davison which continued until Tony’s death in 2021 (see ‘Obituary – Tony Davison’). Together on the construction sites of east Yorkshire, in the 1980s they would regularly sell 50-60 copies of the Militant newspaper each week. Trevor was blacklisted for his activities and was out of work for a year as a result. When he finally got some compensation for this outrage, Trevor made a substantial donation to the Socialist Party fighting fund.

Trevor was not just an activist. He absorbed Marxist ideas and always approached an issue or problem through a Marxist lens. Many was the patient discussion he had with younger members and activists, and although sometimes Trevor’s explanations could be so thorough as to require a comfort break, his words were always well received! It is fair to say that a generation of young trade unionists learned how to be effective in the movement as a direct result of Trevor’s guidance.

 A trademark of Trevor’s approach to politics was ‘attention to detail’. He was a stickler for minutes being correct and methodical in all aspects of his life. This was something that he instilled in younger activists in Unite and the Trades Council. Most recently, Trevor brought this approach to the successful campaign to elect Sharon Graham as general secretary of Unite.

Trevor was much more than a political activist. He was an internationally regarded Karate instructor reaching 2nd Dan Black Belt. It was only an injured shoulder that prevented him going to Japan to learn with the Japanese masters. He was a beloved family man and our thoughts are with his wife Pat, and wider family at this time. But, to Socialist Party members in Hull, Trevor was kindness personified. He always thought of other comrades and their circumstances. Perhaps this is best summed up by an anecdote from Ian Clarke:

“Back in the 1980s when we were in the Young Socialists, a lot of us always used our bikes to get around, Trev christened us the Bolshevik bike brigade. One night I had my bike stolen on the way to a branch meeting. Days later Trev turned up on my doorstep with a bike he’d cobbled together.”

Trevor leaves a big hole in our lives but we are determined to fight even harder to complete the fight for socialism that Trevor dedicated his life to.