PADDY O'CONNOR, who died last Sunday, aged 61, was a legend in his lifetime. In death Paddy still identified with the cause of the lonely and the isolated. He died alone in his flat.
One-time tramp: one-time Mayor of Camden; one-time GLC alderman, Paddy was an all-time champion of the dosser — the roughsleeping Irish, Scots and English who make up London's "skid row".
Paddy and I first met when he, then mayor, Sally Trench and 1 addressed a packed meeting in the borough hall on behalf of the Simon Community in 1967. Our friendship and mutual campaigning continued over the ten years.
Always a headline maker, Paddy will perhaps best be remembered for his unrealised promise to "clear the streets of London" and for getting the Marmite factory and the old Charing Cross Hospital for the St Mungo Community.
To so many organisations in the voluntary housing field Paddy will be remembered as a hard-drinking, red-tape-cutting, hard hitting politician whose professed socialism was in every sense Christianity in action.
Heartlessly criticised in the Yorkshire documentary "Goodbye Longfellow Road" last year, Paddy never recovered and dropped out.
To those of us who knew him he was a loyal and true friend who never forgot that in his young days he had roughed it on the Embankment and made it to the top because he believed in and loved the unwanted and rejected.
Anton Wallich-Clifford Simon Community