FRIENDS and family gathered to celebrate the life of Witney pensions campaigner John Brooks at the official unveiling of a memorial bench.

Mr Brooks, who worked for blanket maker Early’s for 41 years, died in August last year from leukaemia, aged 73.

When Early’s shut down in 2002, workers were told the £4m in the pension fund might not be enough to pay their pensions in full. But after a four-year lobbying campaign, the father-of-three finally won the battle for 127 former staff to get full pensions.

Mr Brooks, who was also a tenant director of Cottsway Housing, was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Merit by the then mayor of Witney, Alvin Adams, and described by Witney MP David Cameron as a “modern British hero”.

The bench was paid for by West Oxfordshire District Council.