Tributes paid to humanitarian

MOVING tributes have today been paid to a leading Suffolk politician and humanitarian, who collapsed and died.Friends and colleagues of Peter Leech, who was involved in a range of community projects in Ipswich, said that he was "irreplaceable.

MOVING tributes have today been paid to a leading Suffolk politician and humanitarian, who collapsed and died.

Friends and colleagues of Peter Leech, who was involved in a range of community projects in Ipswich, said that he was "irreplaceable."

The 66-year-old, who lived alone in Ipswich, died on Sunday after suffering a heart attack at the offices of CSV Media, where he worked as a volunteer.

Mr Leech, who twice stood for election to Parliament as a member of the Socialist Alliance, was an accomplished writer, musician and poet.

A graduate of Oxford University, he was the leader of the Ipswich Anti-War Alliance as well as being involved with the Anti-Nazi League and community radio and drama in the town.

He was also hailed as a hero in April 2000 when he dived into the River Gipping to rescue a pensioner who had fallen in trying to retrieve his hat.

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And Mr Leech was later rewarded for his selfless act when he received a commendation for bravery from the Royal Humane Society.

Graham Plumbly, clubhouse manager for CSV Media at its offices in Princes Street, Ipswich, said Mr Leech often worked 12-hour days as a volunteer.

He added: "Peter was one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. He had no material self-ambition – his whole life was dedicated to helping other people.

"He was a hugely respected and very-much loved man."

The last few days of Mr Leech's life were spent fighting for causes he believed in.

On Friday he joined other demonstrators at Ipswich police station protesting against the planned deportation of asylum seeker and close friend Anvar Valiyev.

Then, despite getting little sleep, he travelled to London on Saturday for an Anti-War Rally before returning to the CSV offices said Mr Plumbly. "He confided in a friend that the last few days had been some of the best of his life.

"If there was one person in this world that is irreplaceable it was Peter Leech – he was a very special person."

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