I was devastated to hear about the death of my friend and Arthur’s Hill ward colleague, Nigel Todd. Nigel was first elected to the council in 1980, and served for many years as a Councillor in Elswick. After the boundary changes in 2004 he represented Wingrove Ward, and more recently since 2016 the newly created Arthur’s Hill ward. He was widely known, and hugely popular, across the West End of the city; everywhere he went people would stop, say hello and ask him for advice or help.
Nigel dedicated his life to tackling poverty, racism and inequality. He was passionate about life long learning, and worked for the Workers Education Association. He chaired the New Deal for Communities initiative, which brought millions of pounds of regeneration funding into the Inner West. He was active in the Labour Party, most recently chairing the city-wide Local Campaign Forum. And he was also passionate about the co-operative movement; he lived by these values and was a keen advocate of co-operative housing developments.
Nigel served as a Deputy Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods for 5 years. But his real passion was local community politics. He was a key figure in a number of local groups, including Action for Arthur’s Hill, the Time Exchange and Greening Wingrove and Arthur’s Hill. Inspired by the ‘vertical veg’ growing campaign, he encouraged people to grow flowers, plants and vegetables in gardens and back yards. This transformed many of our terraced streets into colourful displays and I know he was looking forward to seeing even more people participating this year.
Nigel was a tireless campaigner, a dedicated environmentalist and never lost faith in his vision of a better world. He never had an unkind word about anyone and always had a friendly smile. My thoughts and sympathies are especially with his family today, and I know colleagues across the political spectrum in Newcastle will be united in shock and grief at the loss of our friend and colleague. I know that in the months ahead we will want to find an appropriate way of celebrating his many achievements, but for now we all share a deep sense of loss at his passing.
Rest in peace, Nigel, and thank you for your service