Living Streets’ former Chair, Alastair Hanton, passed away on 26 May, 2021.
Alastair was a kind and generous man who initiated many campaigns with a sense of what was needed, what was possible and what could be achieved collaboratively.
Our former Chair, long-standing member and lifelong campaigner was not only a wonderful person to know personally but he inspired a new generation of people to follow in his footsteps. We are humbled that he chose to advocate, champion and pioneer our work around creating accessible streets, reducing road danger and car dominance.
Alongside his work with Living Streets, he was a leading light for many other campaign organisations and movements internationally. His career and interests were extensive, from creating the Direct Debit system of payment to save people on low incomes the bank administration fees to establishing the National Girobank to give working people access to a bank account.
His commitment to social justice led him to become the Deputy Chair of Christian Aid and to set up a coalition of organisations that became the Fairtrade Foundation, where brands could use the Fairtrade brand in exchange for guaranteeing a set price to growers and producers.
In his retirement he had more time to commit to his passion for addressing the issues around road safety and prioritising pedestrians and cyclists alike. He established the Environmental Transport Association, galvanised a collaborative approach called Action on Lorry Danger, was pivotal in the creation of Road Peace, Cycling UK and was involved with Living Streets and London Cycling Campaign right up to the end. We always knew we were in the presence of an incredible person but hearing tributes over the weeks following his death we know the sheer benevolence of his kindness and tenacity.
'Persistence pays' was Alastair's campaigning mantra - and that's a great motto for any campaigner, in any field.
Having worked at Living Streets for over a decade I have been fortunate to know Alastair and to witness his passion for making a difference to streets in London and beyond. Alastair played a critical role in our campaigning work in the capital, but he also supported our UK-wide campaign activity whole-heartedly and with gusto.
I remember he joined us outside the Houses of Parliament in 2013, with a placard and buckets of enthusiasm calling for more time to cross the road at signalised crossings. Alastair was the winner of our Charles Maher Walking Champion Award on two occasions. Living Streets would most certainly not be the campaigning force it is today without his ongoing support.
I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with and learn from Alastair Hanton. We campaigned together for many years with London Living Streets Group, attending vigils with Roadpeace to mark the deaths of people killed while crossing the road or riding a bike and always looking for opportunities to reduce road danger, improve crossings and junctions and push for measures like 20mph speed limits.
He taught me that public purpose should be at the heart of all policy and the importance of making inclusive streets to support children, older and disabled people.
My favourite memory of Alastair is the sight of him on his bicycle, pedalling around a quiet suburban corner in Dulwich. He was already waving in another direction when he saw me, braked, and stopped. His friendliness was legendry. This was how Alastair knew practically everyone in Dulwich.
Oh this is such sad news. I learned so much from campaigning with Alastair Hanton with @livingstreets - there are not many people who have had so much influence pushing for healthy streets where people can walk and cycle in safety. A giant of walking who will be very much missed. https://t.co/GwrC2NK518— Caroline Russell (@CarolineRussell) May 27, 2021
Alastair was a great support to both individuals and us as an organisation with his seemingly boundless energy particularly in #Southwark where he lived but also more widely. He will be missed by Sustrans and many more organisations and individuals. https://t.co/2ukL2STS0K— Sustrans in London (@SustransLondon) June 2, 2021
.@LDN_LS I am sad to hear about Alistair. I knew since the 1980s with LATA, with Pedestrians Association, as chair of ETA Trust & again through Living Streets. Alistair's clear vision has been an inspiration to new generations of campaigners. He lived long enough to see results https://t.co/oFjUSuQ9OZ— Michael Bach (@michaelbach1) May 29, 2021
So very sorry to hear of the passing of Alastair Hanton. He was a thoughtful, kind, gentle man. He cared deeply for and gave great and tireless service to his community. We will miss him. Our heartfelt condolences to his family. https://t.co/zT27W66OCm— Dulwich Safe Routes (@Safe_Routes) May 28, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of Alastair Hanton. An inspirational, tireless campaigner, always working productively and collaboratively. I learnt a lot from him in my early career at Southwark. My thoughts are with his family and friends 🚶🚲 https://t.co/nZtpVCzF9m— Laura Wells (@LMcWells) May 28, 2021
A rare human who achieved great things, but was able to stay humble, uplifting and kind.— Pedal Me (@pedalmeapp) May 28, 2021
The creator of the direct debit, and of social change.
Sad to hear of his passing. We’ll miss him.
Ride on in the liveable city in the sky, Alastair. https://t.co/4ZFovKDad4