Jade Ritchie 1991-2021: “a determined class fighter and an incredible comrade”
I’m devastated to be writing about the tragic loss of a wonderful friend and comrade who has been taken away from us far too young, right now it’s still very difficult to comprehend. Jade was only 29 when she was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. The diagnosis came as a huge shock to her, her family and to all of us. Jade was receiving treatment and remained positive throughout, logging on to Zoom meetings when she could, and she talked about how much she was looking forward to getting back into activity. This was typical of Jade- we all found her enthusiasm and positivity very inspiring.
We first met Jade in 2018- she had left the Labour Party and was looking for a genuine socialist organisation. It was obvious that Jade had a huge heart, she was committed to ridding the world of all unfairness and recognised the need to transform society; she was passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, socialist feminism and fighting all oppression. She was clearly more at home with our politics, so much so that she convinced her mum Sandra to join shortly afterwards. Both were founding members of Socialist Alternative and played a formidable role in what we have managed to build in Leicester and nationally.
Jade became the Leicester branch secretary after the founding of our organisation and joined the National Committee after our congress in March last year. She took her national role very seriously, really taking the time to prepare for meetings and to politically develop herself- we all looked forward to her excellent contributions. She was naturally quite shy but felt that Socialist Alternative gave her the space to grow and contribute; she frequently commented on how positive it was that newer, less experienced members like herself would be invited to introduce discussions at National Committee meetings. And her confidence grew and grew. Jade helped to organise our first congress and played an important role in the party building team; she played an international role too, introducing an excellent session on queer theory at the January Virtual Marxist University.
Jade passed away peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Monday June 28th with Sandra and her dad Peter by her side holding her hand. She will be so very greatly missed. Her passing is a terrible blow- not just for the Leicester branch but for the whole organisation, and to the workers’ movement. It has left an empty space, and right now it feels very cruel and unfair for us to have lost such a determined class fighter and an incredible comrade- the world needs more people like Jade. But we can be certain that she would tell us not to mourn, and to get out there and organise! So we will continue to fight for a better world- for the kind of world that Jade wanted- with a renewed determination. Rest in power Jade.
Below are two pages from the order of service at Jade’s funeral, the second which quotes from an article she wrote in issue 1 of the Socialist Alternative newspaper.