Gambian school dedicates library to late Brian Bamford


Sohm school has dedicated its library to the late Brian Bamford, the former joint editor of Northern Voices, who died in February last year, aged 81.

Following his funeral, Brian’s wife, Pat, asked that donations in lieu of flowers be sent to an educational project in The Gambia that was close to Brian’s heart.

Sohm Schools Support was set up by John Walker – a long-time friend of Brian, and former joint editor of Rochdale’s Alternative Paper (RAP) in the 1970s – and his wife, Sandra, 12 years ago to provide help to two schools in Sohm, a relatively remote village in The Gambia.


Over the years, the small charity added to the scant resources provided by the government, and Brian was always a passionate supporter and contributor to this endeavour.

Classrooms have been restored, a sick room installed and electricity provided for the first time. Each year the charity spends around £1,000 in supplying stationery and the results have seen the school rapidly achieve great ofsted-equivalent reports.

The school has named its library, rebuilt and stocked by Sohm Schools Support, after Brian – fitting due to his love of books and belief in education helping people fulfil their potential.

As well as being known as the joint editor of Northern Voices, Brian had also stood for election in Castleton as an independent in 2018, and had previously stood for election during the 1970s for Rochdale’s Alternative Party in the then-Norden and Bamford ward.