Remembering Cllr Paul Bull

Paul Bull was 'a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes', says Luke Pollard, reflecting on the life of NEC member Paul Bull, who passed away on Sunday.

With his long hair and ever-present bum bag Paul Bull looked an unlikely role model. A Plymouth Argyle supporter living in Exeter, he managed to combine a passion for Devon’s two competing cities with ease. A champion of co-operative values, Paul served our party in various capacities but most recently as the South West’s Co-operative Party NEC delegate. His death leaves us poorer as a region and as a movement.

News of his passing has hit us hard in the south west because Paul was one of those people you simply couldn’t imagine not being there. The ever-present smiling gent, encouraging and supportive, he will be remembered not just as a good, decent man, but as someone who campaigned for and represented his community and his beliefs with true humility and passion.

From the doorstep canvassing sessions in Cowick and St Thomas, the communities he represented in Exeter, to election battles across the region, Paul was a quiet but solid champion of the Labour and Co-operative causes. The lead for communities and culture on Exeter City Council, he managed to promote his city, his ward and his values effortlessly and simultaneously. 

The memories and tributes shared online since the news of his death both from friends in the Labour and co-operative movement and our political opponents speak to a man held in high regard by all those who met. A kind patient man, Paul was rarely rushed, taking time to speak to and understand all those around him.

His participation in local groups, in co-operatives, the Exeter Pound local currency and community causes marked him out as one of the co-op movement’s heroes: quietly and passionately getting on with the task of making the world a better place one person at a time, giving everyone the time they deserved and each cause the attention it deserved. Whether you knew Paul or not, we all know someone like Paul. He was the type of person valued by all those around him.

Everyone active in our movement in the Westcountry will recognise his encouragement and support at meetings, the fabled South West Weekend School in Torquay and on the streets. Paul represented the very best of our movement: calm, considered and considerate and willing to stand up to be counted. 

Paul was a one off, but there’s someone like Paul in all our communities getting on with it without fanfare or ceremony. I wish I had had the chance to say these words to him because he deserved our thanks for all his efforts for our party and movement. For the Paul in your party and your community please do not leave it until they pass to say how much we value them and what they do for us all. 

Paul Bull passed away after a battle with cancer on Sunday evening with his wife Rachel at his side. He was taken from us at the age of 60, far too early. Our thoughts are with Rachel, and comrades and co-operators in Exeter Labour and the South West Co-operative Party. 

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