Paul Winner obituary: Hampstead artist, PR guru and road safety campaigner

Paul Winner with the traffic signs at the width restriction on Grafton Rd NW5

Paul Winner with the traffic signs at the width restriction on Grafton Rd NW5 - Credit: Archant

Paul Winner understood the importance of presentation in winning an argument.

He was a master PR strategist with a keen vision, believing in the old adage "the difficult we can do - the impossible just takes a little bit longer...".

He employed his exemplary skills to advise and guide me in many of my local campaigns - including against Prudential bringing the seventh mobile phone shop to Hampstead High Street, against Sainsbury's arrival in South End Green, and against CS11 - and he was passionate about preserving the charm and beauty of the Hampstead environment.

A contemporary of Michael Heseltine, he graduated from St John's College, Oxford, before establishing Paul Winner Marketing Communications as one of the UK's top independent PR agencies.

He was a creative and lateral thinker who used analytical rigour to achieve measurable results - he even invented the concept of children's bank accounts for Abbey National. Another notable campaign was his staging of "the 100th anniversary of the marriage of fish to chips" for the White Fish Authority.

He used his skills to campaign for the Liberal Party, becoming a parliamentary candidate in Wimbledon at the age of 27. He fought four general elections, nearly unseating Windsor incumbent Tory MP Dr Alan Glyn in 1983 after canvassing support from the Royal Household and staff and pupils at Eton College. It was at a campaign meeting that he met his wife, Mary. They married in 1963.

He was a prominent member of the Council of Christian and Jews and promoted interfaith understanding and the bringing together of diverse communities.

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He was also a prolific artist of great renown, capturing the life of people he met in thousands of sketches, including as artist in residence at the World Congress of Religion and Peace and as the Home Office's "Artist at Large" for Holocaust Memorial Day.

His work was exhibited and published internationally and he hosted his last show in London's West End just six days before his death.

I have hugely appreciated Paul's assistance with local issues over the years and learned a tremendous amount from him.

He died peacefully after a short illness on May 21 with his family at his side and is survived by his wife Mary, daughter Sonya and son Daniel - along with four grandchildren.