A campaigner on the Bradford West by-election trail died suddenly of a suspected heart attack in a restaurant car park yesterday.
Abu-bakr Rauf, also known as Mohammad Abu-Bakr Rauf, had complained of feeling faint minutes before he collapsed as he went to his car at 2.30pm to collect leaflets to deliver near Bradford College and University.
The 28-year-old father-of-one died two days before his daughter Arabia’s first birthday.
He collapsed in front of his wife Kauser, 30, and only yards away from George Galloway, the Respect Party candidate in the by-election whom he was supporting.
Campaigning was suspended by the party yesterday and only resumed today at the insistence of Mr Rauf’s widow.
Mr Galloway, speaking last night, described Mr Rauf’s death as “unbelievable”.
“One minute this young, handsome, fun-loving, good living, vivacious and young father of a baby is standing in front of you and the next minute he is dead. It is totally unbelievable,” he said.
“He had said he thought he was going to faint and they caught him as he fell back and he was unconscious from that moment on.
“Any death is sad, but the death of a 28-year-old and the father-of-one is devastating. I have known Abu-bakr since he was a teenager when he was involved in the anti-war campaign and really, really liked him.
“He was such a gentleman, a lovely person and was a most handsome boy. He had such a gentle manner about him and was never angry or shouting and had the the best of Islamic etiquette and decorum.
“His wife insisted in all her grief that we had to carry on the campaign. She said that he would have been angry if we had considered calling a halt.”
Mr Rauf was a founder member of Respect in 2004. Born in Bradford, he unsuccessfully stood in Heaton ward in the 2010 Bradford Council elections. At that time, he had described himself as the candidate who truly represented the ordinary person.