Today I physically shook as I read an email that informed me that a good colleague had died. It was especially hard to hear about the loss of such a young, talented woman, who has put such a lot into not only our political party, but social and environmental causes in general. My thoughts are with her family and her friends.
I got to know Gayle pretty well during our 2008 Hulme campaign. We were working really hard to try and hold onto our only council seat in Manchester and she was there at most door knocking and leafleting sessions. She had a positive bubbly attitude and was possessed of a mild Irish lilt that made her instantly memorable. Gayle and many others put in a tremendous effort and despite losing by (just) 50 votes, there was a feeling that Manchester Greens had put together the best campaign in a very long while.
Gayle was one of those people that put others first. I remember having to arm twist her just for her to consider standing as a target candidate at some future point. She was a political natural. She put in a lot of work helping our Euro campaign in 2009, when I was standing as lead candidate, sadly another near miss. In 2010 Gayle was selected to stand as the lead candidate in Hulme and for the General Election in Manchester Central. She ran a brilliant campaign and we gained more votes than ever before or since, but as in many other places, our local election efforts were swamped in a General Election tide.
Gayle not becoming a councillor meant that the party got the benefit of her enthusiasm, ideas and dynamism on the national executive from 2010 onwards. While I didn't have as much contact in the last couple of years with Gayle, particularly after she moved to Norwich, we still swapped the occasional text and she was instrumental in helping us to troubleshoot a potential problem here in the NW, even after she had moved region.
I am filled with sadness that we have lost such a good person politically but more than that, I am sorry that I'll never share another pint with Gayle at Conference or on a party social. She was great company, blessed with wit and an ability to speak her mind. Rest in peace Gayle.