Obituary: Reg Fitch

Obituary: Reg Fitch 6.10.1947 – 18.6.2012

Reg Fitch was one of the Brighton Fitches – a family with a long, proud socialist tradition. His twin brother was the late Rod Fitch, a Militant supporter (precursor to the Socialist Party) who stood as a Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown in 1983.

His father Stan, a long serving Labour councillor, had been suspended from the Labour Party for supporting the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.

Reg and his wife Jean were stalwart Militant supporters who campaigned tirelessly for socialist causes, particularly against the Thatcher cuts of the 1980s, supporting the 1984 miners’ strike, and the battle against the poll tax.

Reg was a roofer and active in his TGWU branch, and was involved with our late comrade Ray Apps in the fight for recognition, justice and compensation for union members suffering from asbestos exposure.

Recently Reg supported the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and along with Jean signed the nomination papers for a TUSC candidate in the 2010 general election – recognising the need for a new mass workers’ party.

Reg sadly lost his year-long battle against a brain tumour on 18 June 2012 at the age of 64. In his last year, when Reg knew his illness was terminal, he said “it’s a bit of a bummer” but was determined to make the most of his remaining life.

His passion was walking and he spent much of his last year rambling over his beloved South Downs, and even took his son on a trip to North Wales climbing up Snowdon by the notoriously difficult Crib Goch route.

He also spent many a happy hour with his family and friends at his favourite pub – the Bugle.

Reg never sought the political limelight, but worked hard raising money for our fighting fund, organising meetings, leafleting and canvassing for socialist candidates.

He was once stopped by the police on suspicion of flyposting flyers attacking the hated Thatcher “workfare” Youth Training Scheme (YTS).

He denied it but the copper asked why he was covered in wallpaper paste, to which Reg replied he’d been decorating his front room and had popped out for a drink! Little did the copper know that Reg’s son Michael was also a local activist against the YTS.

Reg loved music, in particular the American Jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. He also appreciated British folk – a favourite was Ewan MacColl’s Manchester Rambler – and American Blues artists such as John Lee Hooker.

Reg didn’t deserve to die so young. He carried his socialist principles with him throughout his life, and will be very sadly missed by his family and all his comrades and friends.

His is survived by his wife Jean, son Mike, daughter Tasha, grandchildren Harris, Maddie, Amie and Alice, and brothers Brian and Keith.

Ted Watson