Adrian Randall obituary

Other lives: Birmingham council officer for asylum seekers and refugees

My friend Adrian Randall, who has died aged 73, was an energetic champion of refugees and asylum seekers. He never stopped, whether fighting for the rights of marginalised people, cycling the length of Britain or raising funds for charities.

Born in Farnborough, Kent, Adrian was one of six children of Keith Randall, a doctor, and his wife, Helen (nee Pullan). He attended Sevenoaks school. His family had long connections with the sea, which could be traced back to the the Battle of Trafalgar.

Adrian went to Dartmouth Naval College, where he trained in electrical engineering. But as a young midshipsman, he refused to serve on a nuclear submarine due to his anti-nuclear principles, faced a court martial and, following discharge, got a place at the University of Essex to study sociology, graduating in 1974. He followed this with a master’s in social work at the University of Warwick.

His life was dedicated to addressing inequalities in Britain and, following a trip driving his campervan to India, he worked in local government in London and then Birmingham, where he rose to become lead officer for asylum seekers and refugees. Adrian oversaw the birth of the city’s Refugee Resource Centre and was a major force in Birmingham’s designation as a City of Sanctuary in 2015. His work was driven by his belief in socialism.

Adrian left the city council in 2011. He changed careers and, at 63, started work at the Department for Work and Pensions, helping the long-term unemployed. He stayed at the DWP for nine years, until his death.

Outside work, Adrian brimmed with energy. At 40, he broke three hours in a marathon. At 50, he took up skiing and rollerblading. At 60, he cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats. At 70, he cycled with one of his daughters from London to Edinburgh. He was planning another long-distance adventure when he fell ill with cancer.

On top of all this, he raised cash for three charities; played women or dastardly villains in a series of hilarious am-dram melodramas with the Chantry Road Music Hall; was a perpetual motion gardener (sometimes at night by headlamp) and never felt as much joy as when camping and bodyboarding with his family.

He is survived by his long-term partner, Sue Wainwright, and their children, Anna, Laura and Ruth.

Richard Lutz

The GuardianTramp

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