The man responsible for reviving Hereford Pride, librarian turned campaigner John Walker, has died aged 51, after a shock diagnosis of advanced colorectal cancer in May last year.

Mr Walker, a librarian by profession, was an active campaigner in Herefordshire, passionate not just about his beloved world of books but with a lifetime interest in politics and social justice.

In Herefordshire he was influential behind the scenes as a member of the executive committee of the local independent party, It’s Our County, and served as a parish councillor for four years in the north of the county, representing Adforton on the Border Group Parish Council.


Mr Walker created a community interest company to back the Hereford Pride Festival in 2021 – he also helped build a team to run it, and secured funding. The event, the first big LGBT festival in the city, attracted thousands of visitors.

Born in Hereford, Mr Walker spent his early childhood first in Brampton Road, Newton Farm and then in Ross and Peterchurch before his parents moved to Manchester in 1977.

He returned to Herefordshire in 2007 with his partner David Thame to settle in the village of Lingen, where they served together as trustees of the village hall, working on Flicks in the Sticks and Arts Alive shows.

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Mr Walker was one of the most familiar faces in the city thanks to his work as clinical librarian at Hereford County Hospital from 2012 where he was an active member of, and Equalities Officer for, Unison, reflecting his deep desire for equality and social justice.

He had previously worked as school librarian at Hereford Academy and at Hereford Cathedral Library, where he maintained links until the last weeks of his life.

Wye Valley Trust and Unison colleague Coun Gemma Davies said: “John was an incredible, inspirational man who has made an impact on the world, much wider than even John knew himself.

"John had a massive influence on my life and the lives of others and changed them for the better, he shall be so incredibly missed."

A spokesman for Hereford Pride posted on social media: “For those that didn't know John, he is the reason why Hereford Pride exists ... he was an activist, and an intellectual. He was truly one of a kind.

"It's a great loss and things won't be the same without him. John will be severely missed and all we can do is come together in honour of his memory and make him proud by carrying the torch and continuing with the work he set out to achieve in and around Hereford and to make it a better place for everyone.”


David Thame, Mr Walker's partner of 32 years, said: "Walking down High Town with John was a constant series of hellos and conversations with former students from Hereford Academy who'd wandered in looking for distraction and left the library with new directions; with friends and colleagues from Hereford Hospital, from Unison or Pride, from local politics or the church or just neighbours and casual acquaintances.

"People sensed his good will, his genuine desire to help, connect and communicate – and responded with the warmth he so freely offered them. He loved it.

"A constant source of energy and inspiration, John touched (and changed) lives from Manchester to Hereford and far beyond.

"Always caring and trusting, John was always the first to stand up when others fell back.

"This is not an easy time but it helps a little to think I'm not the only one who could see in him the powerful force for justice, for joy and for generosity of spirit that he so very much was."

A memorial event for Mr Walker was held at Hereford Cathedral on Friday, February 3.