We are shocked and saddened by the unexpected passing of Councillor Van Coulter. Van dedicated his life to helping people who were less fortunate than others.

He came from an underprivileged background himself which informed his politics.

He was always calm and analytical, but underneath it all there was a burning determination for progressive social change, to help those most in need and to collectively help society.

A passionate advocate for social justice and equalities, he chaired a very successful scrutiny enquiry into the social and economic inequalities across Oxford that delivered a set of practical recommendations for tackling the causes of poverty.

He had established a national reputation as an expert on climate change and how to tackle it and spoke regularly at international meetings on the subject. Van was a hard-working and committed ward councillor for Barton and Sandhills and was closely involved in the planning of the new Barton estate.

His kindness and courtesy were legendary. His death is a real blow to the city and our party.

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