SAM Segaran, who has died aged 83, was a dedicated councillor for the Iffley area and trade unionist, who fought to promote his beloved Tamil culture in Oxford.

Mr Segaran served the community around Iffley for many years as a councillor and set up the Oxford Tamil Association to bring together Tamils – an ethnic group whose ancestry is based in southern India and Sri Lanka.

He organised the first meeting on Tamil culture in Parliament hosted by Baroness Flather of Maidenhead and Windsor and contributed to by then Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, whom he worked closely with in Oxford's Labour party.

Before his time in local government he was a well-loved shop steward at the British Leyland plant in Cowley and was often seen encouraging protests and supporting workers during the 1970s.

Suppiah 'Sam' Segaran was born in Thanjavur in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on June 5, 1934 to parents Krishnan, who worked for Tiger Beer in Singapore, and Pattamal Segaran.

One of five brothers, he moved with the family to Singapore at the age of five.

It was here that he would develop a deep commitment to Labour politics and trade unionism as a member of the Army Civil Service Union.

He married his wife Sarathambal in July 1967 in Veeravadi, Tamil Nadu, and the couple moved to Croydon two years later and had two sons, Rajah and Pandiyan.

He quickly joined the General and Municipal Workers' Union and worked as an electrician.

In 1977 they moved to Oxford and he became a shop steward at the British Leyland plant and was a well-loved figure among workers during the difficult days of the 1970s, which featured strikes and protests over pay and conditions.

After leaving the workforce he won a fellowship to study at Ruskin College in 1991.

He had joined the Labour party when he moved to the UK in 1969 but took a decisive step into politics when he was elected to Oxfordshire County Council in 1997, serving two four-year terms as councillor for Iffley.

The family lived in Rymers Lane, Cowley, as Mr Segaran continued his dedication to the community and for those who found themselves excluded or exploited in society.

He continued to promote the breadth and beauty of Tamil culture, setting up Oxford Tamil Association in 2000 and serving as its president.

The association worked closely with other community figures, including Dr Paul Flather, who served as an honorary patron.

Together they helped staged regular gatherings at the Asian Cultural Centre in Manzil Way.

He died on November 29, aged 83, after a short illness and is survived by his wife, who was a bookbinder at Oxford University Press, and two sons – Pandyian, who works as an NHS administrator, and Raj, a civil servant.