Family, friends and colleagues will celebrate the life of Dr Ed Gouge this week.
The political campaigner, of whom Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said, “Ed’s was a life well lived”, sadly passed away on Tuesday 2nd January, just days after saying he planned to start writing memoirs from his time at the GLC.
Ed’s funeral service takes place at the Crematorium from 3pm this Friday (9th February).
The Isle of Wight Labour Party share this fitting tribute below. Our thoughts are with all those who knew Ed.
Dr Ed Gouge – “a life well lived”
Dr Gouge died at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on January 2 – the day after his sharing his silver wedding anniversary with his wife Mary.
Among those to pay tribute to Dr Gouge, who died following a short illness, was Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell – the pair having served together on the Greater London Council in the 1980s.
Mr McDonnell said:
“In sending my deepest condolences to Mary and Elliott I was proud to have served with Ed on the GLC and privileged to count him as a friend and comrade. Ed was a fine, principled and dedicated socialist who made a major contribution to one of the most radical socialist local government administrations in the Labour Party’s history. This laid the foundations for the present resurgence of socialist practise within the party today.
“Ed’s was a life well lived.”
Ed’s early life
Dr Gouge was born at home in Northfleet Kent in 1947 – one of the early N.H.S babies. As a boy he moved to Windsor where he enjoyed a happy childhood.
His parents Sidney and Ivy ran an ‘old fashioned café’ and he loved lying upstairs, with one of the Airedale dogs on the bed, listening to his mum, dad and customers laughing and playing cards into the late evening. Every lunchtime he would run home from school at Windsor Grammar to enjoy a hearty meal – a love of food would stay with him all his life.
Dedicated to politics
After leaving Windsor Grammar, Ed attended Bristol University where he graduated with a degree in Geography.
He would also go on to obtain a PHD in politics, philosophy and economics at Leeds University, and a Masters with distinction in politics at Birbeck, University of London.
Ed met Mary when he moved back to Gravesend, where Mary was the women’s secretary of the local Constituency Labour Party and he was a Labour councillor. Their love of Jazz and socialist principles were a match made in heaven.
Ed often said they might have passed each other on the prom, when they were children, before he moved, and he likened it to the David Copperfield and Agnus love story, a passage he read during their marriage on New Year’s Day in 1993.
In October that year their son Elliott was born.
Ed used to say to Mary:
“I never thought I would get married, I never thought I would marry someone as lovely as you, I never thought I would have a child, and I never ever thought I would have a son.”
Lecturer of Politics
They moved to York when Elliott was ten days old, for Ed’s new post of Lecturer of Politics, at the University of Leeds and they spent 18 happy years there
Ed also became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He also previously ran the Parliamentary Studies degree at the University of Leeds and was an adviser for University Study Portal, BritPolitics between 1993 and 2012.
Chairman of GLC planning committee
For many years Ed also worked with the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Ken Livingstone, Diane Abbott and others at the Greater London Council (GLC) during the 1980s during which time he served as chairman of the planning committee.
Ed moved to the Island five years ago and bought a house, completely by coincidence, next door to Stewart Blackmore and they forged an immediate friendship.
Island Labour Party
Stewart introduced Ed to the Island CLP where he soon became secretary. Ed’s experience soon led to the CLP being overhauled and a new much-needed branch structure being put in place.
During his time as secretary membership boomed to its current levels.
Ed became Stewart’s agent for the 2015 election. Stewart said:
“Ed and I had an immediate empathy and he was the natural choice to become my election agent.
“His knowledge of the political processes were immediately apparent and, whenever we went up to the House of Commons, he seemed to know everybody. He introduced me to the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell who greeted him as an old friend, which he was.”
Ed was also, whilst a professor of politics at Leeds University, responsible for placing interns at Westminster. One such placement was Chris Leslie who became an MP and front bencher.
Celebration of Ed’s life
Service is being held on 9th February at 3pm at the IW Crematorium followed by a celebration of his life at the Royal British Legion Ventnor.
Any donations to the EMH/Cardiac Unit at St Mary’s will be greatly appreciated.
Image: © Ventnor by Simon Haytack