Milton Keynes is this week mourning the death of one of its most educated men, whose letters were enjoyed by thousands of Citizen readers.
Dr Arun Vaidyanathan’s passion for learning earned him a total of nine degrees and postgraduate diplomas during his lifetime.
His knowledge made an impact on MK, where for decades he quietly crusaded to improve schools, health services and racial equality as well as serving his community as a parish councillor for West Bletchley.
He helped found the MK Council for Racial Equality, was the first Asian school governor in the area, sat on a number of local health advi – all between bettering the lives of those around him by spearheading local campaigns as a councillor.
His daughter Rajini Vaidyanathan said: “My father never sought recognition or money for the work he did – and only in his death am I truly learning the long list of his accomplishments.”
But many people will remember Bletchley man Dr Vaidyanathan best for his letter writing skills in national as well as local newspapers. Whether he was addressing local issues, environmental concerns or, with his research chemist background, writing for a scientific journal, his stylish prose would always provoke a discussion.
Fighting prejudice was always a favourite topic, said Rajini.
“When Dad arrived to the UK in the late 1960s, England was a different place – racism was more prevalent – and my father did what he could to fight prejudice wherever he saw it. He experienced this personally, but never let us – his children, believe that things were impossible,” she said.
Though the retired Open University academic spent his life fighting for other people, he lost his own ultimate battle with multiple myeloma, and died, surrounded by his family, at the age of 77.
Rajini said: In this current selfie age where lives are played out online and the importance of human interaction has lessened, my father is a reminder that immersing yourself in your local community has an enduring value... We will forever miss him.”
Dr Vaidyanathan leaves a wife Pattu, three daughters and two grandchildren.
His funeral will be held at Crownhill crematorium next Tuesday, April 5, at 9:15 am.