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Phil Leeson

Born in Barnton, Cheshire, on November 28 1925, he was educated at Sir John Deane's grammar school, Northwich. From 1943 to 1947, he served in the army in the Royal Signals. He read modern history, economics and politics at Manchester University, and then took a teacher's certificate. While a student, he was active in the socialist society and joined the Communist Party. Afterwards, he taught history at Ravensbury Street and Newall Green secondary modern schools, and at Ashton Old Road primary school.

He returned to Manchester University to take an MA in economics and in 1962 began his 20-year career as a lecturer in the university's economics department. He spent relatively little time in developing countries but his influence, from his Manchester University base, was enormous. Many of his former students reached high office in their own countries. He was crucial to the university's diploma and MA in economic development and the interdisciplinary MA in development studies.

Passionately committed to development education in the community, he was a frequent speaker for the WEA, World Development and UN Association meetings, and to sixth forms - on poverty, aid, debt, and foreign investment. A lifelong campaigner in the peace movement, he was also a loyalist to the CPGB Executive in the 1980s. Even so, he hated the personal bitterness that arose and maintained friendships across divides. He died aged 78 on April 1 2004


Source: Guardian 15th May 2004