THE incredible life of a political campaigner has been remembered by his son.

Former Brighton councillor David Aherne died at his home in Goring on July 27 aged 77.

But the environmental trailblazer achieved more in his life than many can imagine, being a key figure in the founding of the Green party as well as a driving force in the decision to ban the use of animals in circuses.

His son Daniel, 41, said: “He was a funny, intelligent and kind man who loved the planet and everything living on it.

The Argus:

“It was very innate for him to care about these things, that was there from day one.

“He was a dedicated advocate for the environment and animals throughout his life and he later became a family man who loved his wife and children.”

But, even in his transition from campaigner to family man, animal rights were still at the forefront of his mind.

He met his wife, Jennifer, through their shared and fierce opposition to fox hunting.

“She was in a lot of the papers because she was a hunt saboteur,” Daniel said.

“On one of the hunts she was whipped, badly. Dad was a councillor at the time and saw it in the paper.

“He went to see her in hospital and that was how they met.

The Argus:

“There was an article on it in The Argus, in 1976 or 1977 I think.”

David lived in Sussex for almost all of his 77 years, but spent his early life in Africa with his mother in the 1940s.

After a few years, they moved back to Brighton.

It was in the city that he became involved in campaigning against environmental injustices and took the role of secretary of the British Union Against Vivisection – the practice of performing operations on live animals for the purpose of experimentation or scientific research.

From there he carved a route into local government, becoming a Tory councillor in Brighton.

But Daniel said the Conservatives were a “very different party then” and his father soon found his own interests did not align with those of the party.

After successfully securing a ban on the use of animals in Brighton circuses, he gave up his seat to work with the Ecology Party in the early 80s, helping the group develop its ideas and size.

The Argus:

In 1985, David was a key part of the Ecology Party’s progression into the Green Party, one of his proudest achievements.”

Daniel said: “I think being one of the founders of the Ecology Party and the Green Party is one of the things he would be most proud of.

“Being at the dawn of that environmental movement.”

The family moved to Goring in 2001 for a quieter life and, after seven years in the town, his wife Jennifer died in 2008.

But David continued to campaign and in 2014 he succeeded in keeping the disabled access at Durrington railway station open until after the last train had departed.

It had previously been locked at 9pm.

David is survived by his son Daniel Aherne, 41, and his daughter Alison DeLacy, 38.