From Leamington Spa Today - 30 March

Tributes paid to 'freedom fighter' and ambassador for Leamington

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of a Leamington-born campaigner described as a modern-day freedom fighter and ambassador for his home town.

Gurpreet Singh Mundy died on March 17 after suffering a brain haemorrhage at his workplace.

Although only 36, he was widely respected in the field of race relations and known for his work with the family of Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in a racist attack in London.

Gurpreet's older brother Jas Singh Mundy said: "He was an activist. He was a modern-day freedom fighter."

Piara Powar worked with Mr Mundy at the Newham Monitoring Project, which campaigned against far-right politics and helped victims of racist violence.

He said: "The thing that defined Gilly was his personal warmth and commitment to issues of justice, particularly regarding racism.

"His connection to Leamington was one of the most important things to him. Although he lived in London, he was one of the most vocal and proud ambassadors for Leamington I have ever met. He had an aura about him as an individual. He had a zest and a love for life."

Mr Mundy, known as Gilly, had attended Clapham Terrace Primary School, Sydenham Middle School and Campion School.

The son of Warwickshire county and Leamington town councillor Mota Singh, he became involved in the Abbey House Youth Project in Russell Street, which led to a degree in race relations and racism at Edge Hill University in Lancashire.

During his studies he began working for the Newham Monitoring Project in London, where he was involved the Stephen Lawrence Campaign. In 2005 he married Debbie Quargnolo in the village where his father was born in India.

After the wedding the family decided to set up the Buan Kohti International Trust to help improve the water supply and education in the village.

Mrs Mundy said he was particularly keen the charity would have an emphasis on the arts. She added: "He was controversial, alternative, warm, generous, fun loving, and had a great sense of humour. He was very giving, very creative and a great artist in many ways."

For the past nine years Mr Mundy worked for the charity Inquest, where he worked advising the families of people who had died in police custody. The organisation's co-director Deborah Cole spoke at his funeral and also attended a wake which filled the New Inn in Leam Terrace.

She said: "Gilly was an exceptionally talented case worker and contributed a lot to the fight against racism and injustice, supporting families all over the country.

"He very much took his inspiration from his father. I knew Gilly for nine years but only realised at his funeral what a close-knit community there was in Leamington and how much love there was for him and his family."

Lawyer Sajida Malik paid tribute to his ability to form close bonds, building trust and lasting friendships with the families of those who had died in suspicious circumstances.

She also mentioned his pride in his father's work in Leamington, which he saw himself as continuing.

She said: "He said he was most proud of following in his father's footsteps. They were each other's heroes."

Mr Mundy was also a keen photographer and music lover. He was also part of Conscious Clubbing, and organised and performed as a DJ at fundraising events.

Mr Mundy was a passionate advocate of organ donation, which is not widespread in the Asian and black communities in the UK. NHS group UK Transplant was invited to display at his funeral. His family has set up the Gilly Mundy Memorial Fund to support the families he helped as a case worker and the causes he believed in.

Pay your tributes
A blog has also been set up in Mr Mundy's memory.

No comments: