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Home > News and views > In memoriam – Nigel Currie

In memoriam – Nigel Currie


We are deeply saddened to share that Nigel Currie, Chair of the Bristol branch since 2018 and a linchpin of the branch for many years before, died peacefully on 12 January after a long fight with cancer.

Nigel was a teacher, notably at Bristol’s Cotham School where he taught politics and sociology to the sixth form. He possessed all the qualities of the very best in that profession: an inquiring mind; a quiet, calm authority and a talent for engaging the interest and enthusiasm of his students. He deserved and earned their respect. So he was exactly the right person to encourage Bristol’s schools to join in the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition. Many responded, and over the years Bristol has made an admirable contribution to the competition.

Nigel was a strong advocate of effective local government, but his political journey followed an unusual course. In the early days he pursued Marxism but soon had the wisdom to recognise that this was not the right place for him. There followed many years as a Labour supporter, culminating in a successful spell as a Bristol City Councillor. But again he switched, after setting out his worries about Labour’s direction, to become a committed Tory. He ran for the City Council and nearly got there. In making these changes Nigel was a man of conviction. He made his decisions after careful thought and then acted on them.

Nigel’s firm Christian faith came in adult life and he became a pillar, and sometime churchwarden, of St Matthew’s Church in Bristol. His religious beliefs and his friends in the church community helped greatly to sustain him once his illness took hold. His friends at St Matthew’s recall his kindness and consideration almost to the end. Invariably he was at pains to help others and to listen to their problems.

He took to the ESU – as he had taken to teaching, politics and the church – out of conviction: he believed in the importance of what the ESU does. For years he was the branch secretary and mastermind of the public speaking competition. He travelled to Georgia to mark the twinning of ESU Tbilisi with ESU Bristol. By the time he became chair his illness was progressing. That he ran the Bristol branch with such vigour, enthusiasm and diligence says so much about Nigel’s courage and determination never to do things by half measures.

In all of this he was a modest soul, completely without pretension. He didn’t expect praise. The depth of the sorrow which has followed his passing would have amazed him.

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