Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Remembering George Dunk

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 27th April, 2018

7492AFE3-A1C8-478F-B94B-952DD4262BA5It was perhaps fitting that the news of George Dunk’s death came through while we European Liberal Democrats (ALDE, previously ELDR) were gathering for tomorrow’s Council meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, as George devoted so much of his time and energy to causes European. A former Chair of the Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG), he was hugely supportive of my efforts to get into the European Parliament  (I twice almost made it!) but he was also a genuine internationalist. South Africa was a country of particular concern and he had a wonderfully close marriage with his South African spouse, Sandra, who worked for years in party HQ, and who died far too young. George also mucked in with the Southwark Liberal Democrats, not only in supporting Simon Hughes, election after election, but also in his home Rotherhithe ward. He was the ultimate backroom boy, working hard to get other people elected, while staying out of the limelight himself. He must have loved the fact that if you google his name the only photos that come up are of lithe black American basketball players. Inevitably, because George was so physically huge (he would laugh at my choice of that term), he had mobility problems, especially in recent years, when he walked with a stick, though that did not prevent him attending many ALDE Councils all over Europe. Many of us worried about the strain that all that extra weight must be putting on his heart, let alone his knees. And there is a certain irony in the fact that he reportedly lost 30kg while in hospital during his recent incapacitation. That still did not save him. But George was one of those people who was very philosophical about life. He did so much for the Party, as well as for the European project, that one cannot grieve his passing but rather should celebrate what he achieved and the steadfastness of his belief. Yes, he was larger than life. And yes, sometimes he put people’s backs up with his forthright views about how things should be done. But he now deserves the most almighty of wakes. He won’t rest in peace, however, because he will be urging those angels to get off their backsides and fly off to deliver a few thousand leaflets.

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5 Responses to “Remembering George Dunk”

  1. Rebecca Taylor said

    Great piece. George will be fondly remembered by many myself included. He was always ready to help others practically and with words of support, although he was also realistic about electoral chances.

    I knew George had been in hospital in recent months and had spoken to him via facebook at one point, but hadn’t realised he remained there. He was full of praise for NHS staff looking after him and it’s good to know he was getting high quality care.

  2. […] 5. Remembering George Dunk by Jonathan Fryer on Jonathan Fryer. A tribute to a Lib Dem stalwart. […]

  3. So many good memories over many good years of George’s advice, encouragement and humour. Remembering conference conversations about the state of play and our voice on Europe. He will be sadly missed.

  4. John Jefkins said

    George could be said to be one of the fathers of EARS in that he nurtured a young me to take my ideas for a campaign database to an Agents Association weekend in Devon to encourage me to make it practical for Agents to campaign with – hence the name “Election AGENTS Record System”. He encouraged me (and others) at the Croydon North West by-election. He got me to join the Croydon NW exec (where he and Bill Pitt used to shout at each with much amusement. I remember George coming on one of the first Channel Tunnel trips (when I was an Architect running the Computer Aided Design for the project). I remember his marriage, his happiness and his sadness at Sandra’s all to early death. I remember his home in Bermondsey, but lost touch a bit recently. He was too ill to come to the last conference or too and our last facebook messages talked of meeting up soon. So it was a real shock to hear how ill he really was and that he had died. Terrible news.

  5. I cried buckets when I found out that George had died. He was an absolute one in a million

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