Those of us interested in building and sustaining local communities based on mutual self-help will be saddened to hear of the passing of Colin Ward (Guardian Obituary, 23/2/10), the author of numerous books on self-organisation, local co-operatives and voluntary bodies. As a social theorist with a practical frame of mind, Colin believed in the importance of small-scale local initiatives as a means of achieving social and political goals. His book, The Allotment, It’s Landscape and Culture, (1988), co-authored with Colin Crouch, remains a classic statement of the importance of allotments to local communities.
On a personal note, as a school chum of his step children, Barney and Tom Unwin, at Pimlico School in the 1970s, I spent a pleasant week during the school holidays at the family’s house in Suffolk. I remember Colin as a quiet man, then in his mid 50s, with whom we had interesting chats on various subjects. Any one interested in allotments should read his book, cited above.