In memorandum: Pants Paul 1975 – 2007
I first met Paul in 1997 at Highworth Protest camp in Wiltshire. He was living on site in a bender having cycled down from Hull with his friend Theo. His commitment to Highworth strategic housing protest was staunch and he had clocked up the most days of living on site out of every activist there. Whilst there he actively helped setting up walkways and digging tunnels; he was always eager to vocalise his opposition to anything he regarded as unjust.
He then went to live in a council flat on the western edge of Swindon, again with his friend Theo; he didn’t seem very happy when I visited him. Months later I contacted him and with a few other activists we set up a protest camp nearby at Hagbourne copse, Swindon to secure it’s future. We remained in occupation of this ‘for sale’ woodland during it’s bidding offers and eventually moved off on news of it’s secured sale to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
It was some months later I met Paul as I was passing through Swindon town centre, he asked in conversation “please get me out of Swindon Owl” so I took him to Oxford where an Earth First! gathering was due to be taking place. We squatted a house in St Clements much to the discontent of one local women neighbour but many winter gathering EF activists were most relieved to find the warm stay after briefly freezing inside an EF factory commune on Cave Street.
Paul to put it mildly was an avid special brew drinker, by the camp fire I spoke with him about this only once, he told he had a rare genetic condition named Budd-chiari syndrome and that drinking alcohol would probably kill him; I asked him if this bothered him and in blunt reply he stated his adamant intent to keep on drinking regardless so I left it at that.
Returning to Bristol I lost contact with Paul, but heard he went onto occupy and protest with the Nine Ladies anti quarry campaign; a familiar protest which I visited a number of times myself. Paul found companionship with an activist friend called Kirsty and on request I hand fasted them both at Stonehenge on summer solstice morning.
Decade later I not only learned of his death but of the life he had created for himself in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I never got to meet Paul again whilst he was alive and often ponder the thought of him reading the newspaper reports of my time in India. Paul with Kirsty blessed this world with a lovely daughter called Willow.
Well met Paul and may we merry meet again… on the other side.