Sadness at death of Bob Holman, Christian social worker and pioneering anti-poverty activist

Sadness at death of Bob Holman, Christian social worker and pioneering anti-poverty activist
The Herald Scotland, by Stephen Naysmith
15.06.16

 

Bob Holman, who was perhaps Britain’s foremost poverty campaigner and who chose to live for much of his life in Easterhouse, in accordance with his principles, has died.

 

Figures from the charity and political worlds paid tribute last night after the former social worker succumbed to motor neurone disease.

 

This diagnosis in 2014 was particularly cruel. Holman had recently overcome cancer – he fought Hodgkins Lymphoma with customary phlegmatism, but regretted that his treatment forced him to avoid crowds, difficult for a gregarious man whose life revolved around family and public meetings.

 

For this outspoken campaigner to then be robbed off his voice, among other things, by further illness, was harsh.

 

His passion for social justice was closely tied to his Christianity, and he lived simply, believing it would be hypocrisy to preach equality while pursuing material wealth. He was a passionate youth worker, and evangelist for the powers of table tennis in forging common ground.

 

He co-founded Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse (FARE) and until illness prevented him, took part with his wife Annette in an annual Christian youth camp, accompanying Glasgow children to the event in England.

 

He was the author of several books, including a life of the Scottish socialist and former Labour Party leader Keir Hardie, although he departed from the party fold for the Scottish independence referendum, where he unexpected emerged as a strong supporter of a Yes vote.

 

Last night politicans and commentators expressed sadness at his passing. Fellow regular Herald columnist Ruth Wishart tweeted: "Bob Holman: A man who truly walked the walk. A life well lived. Sad loss."

 

Labour’s Margaret Curran praised his deep integrity and commitment, adding "Deeply saddened to learn of the death of the giant of social justice Bob Holman… There will never be another."