Who was Roy Hackett? Civil rights hero who led Bristol Bus boycott in 1963 dies aged 93

Civil rights activist Roy Hackett has died

Tributes have been pouring in for Bristol civil rights leader Roy Hackett who has died at the age of 93.

The activist fought against racism and was instrumental in the Bristol Bus boycott of 1963, which was called when the Bristol Bus Company refused to employ black drivers and conductors. The ban was then overturned.

Tributes have been shared around the world following the news of his death, with many paying their respects on social media.

Bristol's Lord Mayor, Paula O'Rourke, wrote online: "So very sad to hear Bristol civil rights legend Roy Hackett, organiser of the Bristol bus boycott 1963 and founder of St Pauls Carnival has passed away.

"My thoughts are with Roy's family and friends at this difficult time."

Executive Director of St Pauls Carnival, LaToyah McAllister-Jones, said: "Rest In Power, Mr Roy Hackett. You have inspired so many, your service and dedication to your community lives on through us all."

Labour MP for Bristol West, Thangam Debbonaire MP, said: “It was an honour to know Roy Hackett.

"He was a civil rights hero, rightly lauded for his leadership in the Bristol Bus Boycott and the St Pauls Carnival, which both say so much about who we are as Bristol.

"He was an inspiration to so many and taught us all so much about standing up for justice and equality.

"I will miss his warm smile, quick wit and charm as well as his deep and lasting commitment to the people of Bristol and to ending racism."

Mr Hackett was awarded an MBE in 2020 and was a founder of St Pauls Carnival. Among his other roles, he was also a founding father of West Indian Parents’ and Friends’ Association (WIPFA) and a member of the Bristol Race Equality Council.

A portrait of Roy Hackett was also painted onto a mural celebrating Bristol’s civil rights activists on the side of a house in Byron Street, but this had to be removed following a partial building collapse.