PASSIONATE campaigner Martin Forwood who fought tirelessly for decades against the nuclear industry, has died.

Mr Forwood, who became a respected expert on the industry, has died of cancer aged 79.

He was a leading figure with the Cumbrians Opposed to Radioactive Environment (CORE) group, pushing for Sellafield to be shut down after his partner’s 12-year-old son developed leukaemia in 1980. He was one of a number of children in Cumbria to fall ill at the same time, with campaigners suspecting a connection with plutonium released from Sellafield.

CORE was originally formed as the Barrow Action Group to oppose the import of foreign spent fuel through the local docks en route to Sellafield for reprocessing.

Over the years Mr Forwood has been at the forefront of the campaigners’ fight, and was highly thought of as an expert on the industry.

Sellafield Ltd’s head of policy Phil Hallington has paid tribute to Mr Forwood.

He said: “I knew Martin personally for many, many years. He was a principled and passionate campaigner who was universally admired and respected. His insightful and intelligent scrutiny of Sellafield helped us to become a more open and transparent business and a better neighbour to our community.

“The world will be poorer place without his intelligence, wit, and good humour.

“All of us at Sellafield Ltd send our heartfelt condolences to his widow Janine and his wider family.”

Mr Forwood was born in Anglesey and after school joined the merchant navy as an officer cadet with the Clan Line shipping company, sailing repeatedly to the Bay of Bengal. He joined the Cheshire police force in 1959 before signing up with the Royal Military Police in 1963.

He was immediately posted him to Berlin where, in 1965 he married Ann Pasterfield and a year later left the army.

Back in Britain, after a short attempt at mushroom farming, he signed up with the Met Office.

After several postings around the country over a period of 10 years, including at the chemical weapons establishment at Porton Down, Wiltshire, he was sent to Cumbria. When his marriage to Ann broke down he left the Met Office and began to work on local markets as a picture framer before opening up a shop in Millom, near Barrow.

It was 1980 when he, and other anti-nuclear campaigners, formed a group that eventually became CORE.

Following his death earlier this month, environment expert Paul Brown wrote in The Guardian newspaper: “With his unrivalled collection of original documents on the nuclear industry he was a more reliable source of information to journalists and campaigners than the government-owned industry British Nuclear Fuels, or anyone in Whitehall.

“But Martin was not just an armchair campaigner; he went in for many imaginative direct actions, including, in 2003, chaining himself to a railway line to halt a nuclear waste shipment from Italy destined for Sellafield. When he came up in court charged with a Victorian-era offence of obstructing the railway, which carried a potential sentence of life imprisonment, the judge acknowledged his sincerity, reduced the charge and fined him.

“Afterwards he collected some radioactive mud from the Esk estuary near Sellafield, fashioned it into something resembling a mud pizza and delivered it in a lead-lined suitcase to the Italian embassy in London. It was taken away by the Environment Agency, which tested it, found it was indeed radioactive and eventually, forced by its own regulations, returned it to Sellafield to be disposed of in the Drigg low level waste depository.”