Bob Tennant spent decades supporting the trade union movement in Waltham Forest

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Bob Tennant and sister Jennie. Bob Tennant and sister Jennie.

An activist, trade unionist and scholar who served in Waltham Forest for many years has died.

Bob Tennant died on January 6 - his 65th birthday - on his Dumfries and Galloway farm after a short battle with cancer.

Born in Gloucestershire he was an avid supporter of the county’s cricket club.

After teaching at Sussex University he moved to Walthamstow and worked for the council in its adult education service.

He then became a leading member of the Walthamstow Labour Party.

At the end of the 1980s, he became secretary of the Waltham Forest Council branch of the Transport and General Workers Union and was said to be a driving force in turning a branch of 60 members into one with more than 1,000.

An activist and secretary of the Waltham Forest Trades Council, he helped establish Workers’ Memorial Day in the borough, which now takes place every year.

He was secretary of the Greater London Association of Trades Union Councils from 1992 until 2003. He later he left the Labour Party and joined the Communist Party.

Leaving Waltham Forest in 2003, he moved to Dumfries and Galloway where he returned to academic research at the University of Glasgow, specialising in the Anglican sermon.

In 2006, he was a visiting scholar at the Armstrong Browning Library, a research facility at Baylor University in Texas.

Rinaldo Frezzato, of Waltham Forest National Union of Teachers, said: “He was always extremely good humoured and I often suspected that when he was being extremely challenging to local authority officers (which was usual), he often did it in an extremely ironic way.”

His funeral will take place at Carlisle Cathedral on Thursday at 1.45pm.

Donations to Carlisle Cathedral Choir Association are welcomed.

Comments (1)

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12:35am Fri 17 Jan 14

Robert19 says...

I remember Bob Tennant from years ago when he was an adult education co-ordinator. He did his best to get strange and unusual courses off the ground as well as developing bread and butter training for local people. A real character - not many of his kind left - and those that are would probably be made redundant as they would not fit in with what goes for adult learning these days.
I remember Bob Tennant from years ago when he was an adult education co-ordinator. He did his best to get strange and unusual courses off the ground as well as developing bread and butter training for local people. A real character - not many of his kind left - and those that are would probably be made redundant as they would not fit in with what goes for adult learning these days. Robert19
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