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Brighton disability campaigner Chris Kift dies aged 64
Tributes have poured in for a Brighton disability campaigner who “brightened up any event”.
Chris Kift, of High Street, Kemp Town, who was a well-know figure in Brighton and Hove, passed away on Monday aged 64.
As well as his work highlighting the difficulties faced disabled people, he was a passionate supporter of LGBT issues and Brighton Pride.
Jon Hastie, of the Brighton and Hove Federation of Disabled People, led tributes yesterday.
He said: “He was a really nice, lovely, bubbly bloke who would brighten up any event.
“He was committed to disability issues and worked tirelessly to represent disabled people in the city.
“I last saw him about a month ago when he came to one of our meetings. He was very excited because he was set to move to a new flat but he never got to move in the end.
“He was both a colleague and a friend.”
Originally from Ilfracombe, Devon, he moved to Bristol where he worked as a publican. He also worked as an agent for cabaret artistes.
In later life he moved to Brighton and Hove where he took up numerous voluntary roles representing disabled people. He also was a passionate supporter of tenant's rights and was a long-standing tenant rep.
He suffered from a series of long-term health conditions including diabetes, asthma and spinal peripheral neuropathy which saw him confined to a wheelchair.
Councillor Bill Randall, the former Brighton and Hove mayor, described him as a “hardworking advocate of tenant's rights”.
He said: “He was a very good man and was extremely honest and hardworking. He was always good to work with.
“Earlier in his life he was a publican and I think he kept a lot of those skills. He could speak and work with anyone.”
Fellow councillor Liz Wakefield added: “He had an amazing character and a big caring heart. He had the ability to present views and information and also to listen.
“He was a very fair and polite person. He was a tireless campaigner, for whom I have great respect.
“Chris I shall miss you and your cheerful smile and hilarious sense of humour.”
Such was his influence a message was posted on the council's intranet website yesterday morning.
A spokeswoman said: “Chris was a passionate and articulate activist, most notably on behalf of tenants, disabled people and the LGBT community.
“He was a well liked and respected man and acted on behalf of others to make life better for all. He will be sadly missed.”
Mr Kift was also a great a friend of The Argus and a regular contributor to our letters page.
As recently as last month he was featured in the paper speaking about the local authority's planned council tax rise.
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