Obituary: Adrian Holmes 1956-2021

Remembering longstanding councillor and party member Adrian Holmes, who passed away on 27 October 2021.

Adrian Holmes

Image supplied by the Green Party

Donna-Louise Bishop

Obituary: Adrian Holmes by Donna-Louise Bishop

A Norwich North Green candidate for the past two general elections, Adrian Holmes served as a city councillor for eight years from 2004 and was an active and key member of the Norwich Green Party for three decades. He held a number of internal roles, including being the co-chair of the local party, and was active in the north Norwich community where he lived.  

Mr Homes was born at the former Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on 1 August 1956. Apart from time spent in Lincolnshire and Germany, where his father served in the Royal Air Force, he completed much of his schooling in Norfolk, including attending Paston School in North Walsham when it was a grammar school for boys. He went on to study earth sciences at the University of Leeds in 1974 and, during his twenties, he worked as a geophysicist allowing him to both live and travel widely abroad. On returning to Norfolk, he worked in computing as a systems designer and analyst. 

Many of his friends and colleagues have paid tribute to him. Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council and member for Crome Ward, said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of Adrian’s untimely death. I knew him for the best part of 30 years and particularly during his time as a city councillor. 

“He had a quiet and measured approach to politics. He was a conscientious and hardworking member. His passion for environmental issues was at the core of his political values. He will be greatly missed.” 

The council will pay tribute to Mr Holmes at the next full council meeting at the end of the month. Lucy Galvin, Green group deputy leader at Norwich City Council, described him as "a man of huge energy, integrity and kindness”. 

“He was indefatigable – and successful – in his efforts to save one of Norwich's rarest pieces of natural landscape for the people of the city. [He] will be much missed by many and I know he would want us to continue his lifelong battle to look after our planet and each other.” 

In 2013, he became treasurer of the Friends of Train Wood and Marriott's Way, a group formed to prevent Norfolk County Council's planned sell-off of the wood. He also played a major part in preventing the former railway line from being turned into a major trunk road during the 1980s.

As well as reliably fulfilling the role of treasurer for the Friends, Mr Holmes regularly helped with public events and litter picks, often transporting equipment in his bike trailer. The group’s chair, Maddie Goodall, said: "Adrian went about his business in a quiet, effective, often humorous way – always there to help the wood. He will be sorely missed." 

And finally, Adrian Ramsay, Green Party co-leader, described him as “a stalwart” for both the Green Party and the wider green movement in Norfolk. “His contribution was immense – as a councillor, campaigner, parliamentary candidate and thinker,” he added. 

“As a close colleague over a long period, he was always someone I would turn to for a sound opinion, and someone who represented the Green cause in a compelling, principled, and grounded way. He earned the respect of everyone he worked with from local residents to fellow Green campaigners, council officers, and the other political parties, and that enabled him to make a real difference. 

“Adrian was also incredibly generous in his support for others. He was one of the main people who welcomed and encouraged me into the party when I first joined, and then kept an eye out for me as a young member feeling my way in the Green Party and local politics. 

“I will miss him greatly.”

Away from his political career, Mr Holmes loved listening and dancing to live music, cycling, swimming, gardening and the arts. His sister Micaela Holmes said: “I shall particularly value Adrian's humour, kindness, energy and boundless knowledge - he was such a big part of our lives." 

His daughter, Tessa Holmes, 24, added: "I can't put into words how much I love my dad." And his partner, Rachel Watson, said she “loved him dearly and will miss him hugely".

"Adrian was a fundamentally kind and principled man who had great sympathy for other people, particularly those who had fallen on hard times," she said.

“He was a humorous and thoughtful observer of life. He loved to make jokes and wrote poetry about his travels and political ideas. Some of his happiest times were swimming off the Norfolk coast with his daughter, with his feet being nibbled by seals."

Mr Holmes died on 27 October 2021, at the age of 65. As well as his daughter, sister, and partner, he leaves behind his brother Sean. His parents, Adrian and Anne, and sister, Angela, are deceased.