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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 28 February 2008
Patrick Breen
Patrick Breen
A generous, loyal and lovably stubborn press man of principle

PATRICK Breen, journalist and tenants’ leader, has died suddenly at his home in Pancras Road, aged 50.
Patrick was born in Dublin but came to Somers Town as a young child attending St Aloysius Primary School and then Sir William Collins School in Somers Town.
In his early years he was a keen and respected member of the local Air Cadets.
On leaving school aged 18, he joined the old Camden Journal as a trainee reporter in 1976.
He soon established a reputation as a hard-hitting campaigning journalist, with strong roots in the working-class community he covered.
Then when the Midlands newspaper company that owned the old Camden Journal threatened it with closure at Christmas 1980, Patrick was one of the 18 journalists at North London News who enlisted community and union support in the struggle to save the paper.
Pat was a linchpin in that campaign, which went on for almost 18 months.
He was treasurer of the North London News National Union of Journalists chapel and headed its hardship committee, which ensured the financial survival of striking members. He was also an accomplished organiser of events in support of the campaign both in London and in the Midlands and in Wales.
Patrick played an active part in the anti-racism movement of the time. And with admirable courage, when he was barely 20, he came out as gay at a time much more hostile to homosexuality than the present.
After the Save the Camden Journal campaign was successfully concluded, Patrick’s career took a different turn.
He took a news reporter’s job with the NAAFI, the organisation that runs stores, bars and restaurants for the Armed Forces. But then he went into the public relations side of the organisation, running its PR as well as compiling articles for NAAFI News.
Later, in the early 1990s, he joined the Royal Mail as a freelance press officer in the London regional office. He was later to become Director of Communications for London and then Head of External Relations for London, the South East and East.
He took redundancy in 2004 after a reorganisation at the Royal Mail, and most recently was working as a regional communications organiser for the Audit Commission.
Though Patrick’s work took him out of the borough, he remained committed to his community work throughout.
He was chairman of the Goldington Tenants and Residents Association, which included the Cecil Rhodes House where he lived and had grown up with his mother and younger sister and brother.
He was also vice-chairman of the Camden Town District Management Committee
St Pancras and Somers Town councillor Roger Robinson paid tribute this week to his “lifelong energetic and dedicated work” for the community.
Patrick was famously generous to his friends and loyal to his principles. He never forgot the community he came from. He had a determination that bordered on stubbornness, but always to good effect. He was the life and soul of any party and his laughter and good spirits lifted many lives. He will be sorely missed by us all.


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