Paul Walentowicz obituary

Other lives: Academic and head of research at Shelter

My partner, Paul Walentowicz, who has died aged 65 of cancer, was a distinguished academic, head of research at Shelter, all-round sportsman and a tenacious campaigner. We met 41 years ago when he joined Acton Labour party while he was working at Lyons in Greenford, west London, as an engineer. I was the treasurer and Paul played in the party football team, which included Hilary Benn.

Born in Plymouth, Paul was the eldest of the four children of Win and Jan Walentowicz. Jan served in the Polish air force and the Royal Air Force, having escaped from Poland during the second world war. Paul was brought up in RAF camps around Britain and in Malaysia and Aden, Yemen. He joined the cruiselline P&O in 1970, serving as an engineering officer, and left in 1974.

Between 1975 and 1978 Paul joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and the Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights. He was selected as a Labour candidate for Springfield ward, with me, in the 1978 Ealing council election in London, but we lost.

Paul graduated from York University as a mature student in 1981 and took an MA in 1982. While he was at York he was active in gay rights campaigning and support groups. In 1981 he stood as Labour candidate for North Yorkshire county council.

Paul returned to London and worked for the National Union of Students, Shelter and the National Housing Federation. He left London for Chelmsford in 1994, a year after being appointed to the staff of Anglia Ruskin University, eventually becoming a senior lecturer in housing. He took early retirement in 2014 and became a part-time assistant with Essex Adult Community Learning, in Chelmsford.

Paul was a Labour candidate for Chelmer ward in the Chelmsford elections in 2011 and 2015, when he was returned unopposed to Springfield parish council. He often helped old friends in Ealing during elections. He was very pleased when I became mayor of Ealing in 2011 and accompanied me to events.

He is survived by his brothers, Tony and Peter, his sister, Jan, and me.

John Gallagher

The GuardianTramp

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