All we hear about is how much the man in the street despises politics and politicians. Seen through the warped prism of Westminster politics and sensationalised reporting, politics we are told is for the devious and the insincere.
However, occasionally the man in the street may bump into the local party activist, delivering party leaflets for no other reason than a totally unselfish desire to help a cause.
A couple of years ago the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party was joined by Peter Milton from Murston. Peter had been forced to retire early because of a serious eyesight condition. He had thrown himself into voluntary work at the local hospital but he wanted also to help the Labour Party as best he could.
So, he joined the Thursday morning delivery team. This was not without challenges for him because of his vision, but for nearly two years he was always there. He didn’t want any acclaim and was exceptionally supportive of all our candidates.
The team has a habit, after two hours walking the street, of adjourning for an all-day breakfast or, in the summer, a pub lunch. It was clear that Peter delighted in the political chat and it was also clear that he had a deep knowledge and very wide outlook on political matters.
He told us that he had some time been a Liberal Democrat supporter. He explained that this had been so since his schooldays when he stood as a Liberal in school elections, partly because of his strong pro-European views and partly to challenge his strongly pro -Labour father.
However over the last few years Peter had come to see Labour as the best way to fight for good public services and especially the NHS.
Sometime last year Peter had a heart attack. He recovered and got back to the Thursday team but then became very ill with cancer. Earlier this year he wrote to the Sittingbourne News Extra to praise the care he had received from Medway Hospital. He was very pleased that he received a number of grateful responses to that.
This weekend Pete died. Our local party is very sad at losing such a good man but is so glad that he has had some time with us, which he plainly enjoyed.