Valdar Stewart

Stewart Valdar

The second of seven children, Stewart Valdar (pictured left in 1968) began his working life as a draughtsman, in a variety of jobs ranging from the design of light fittings to work on Wellington bombers. During the late 1930s and 1940s he was an active member of the Young Communist League and became a shop steward while working in Birmingham and London. Through the YCL, he met his first wife, Joan Scott, with whom he had a son, and in 1946 married another YCL activist Pamela Keeling, later to become Pamela Moore, with whom he had four children. His third wife was Jean de Lemos, the artist and illustrator, with whom he had a son. Valdar was also a keen amateur archaeologist, folk singer and artist.

During the 1950s he followed in the footsteps of his journalist father, Lionel Valdar, by joining and later becoming editor of two newspapers in north London, the Hampstead News and the Marylebone Record. He also worked as a freelance reporter for national newspapers. He then progressed onto the nationals, as a sub editor at the Daily Herald and the Sunday Times. This was followed in 1962 by a brief period in public relations with the Lesley Frewin Organisation. In 1964, he joined the UK Press Gazette shortly after his brother became owner.

He had left the Party after 1956, later joining Labour. However, he continued to campaign passionately against imperialism, militarism and racism, as well as local injustices. As he explained, he never sought political high office, preferring instead to be `a foot soldier of the revolution’, and he died at the age of 90 on June 5th 2007.

Source: edited sections of Andy Valdar’s obituary in Camden New Journal 5th July 2007

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