Letter from Bill Gilby - head of General Secretary's Office UNISON

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Betty Wilson
123 Polworth Terrace
East Lothian
EH32 9PT

24 May 2004

Tel. 0207 551 1310/1487

Dear Betty

Just a short note to pass on my condolences about George - he was an ever-present in my time in the Labour Party and with the union so it's been very hard to come to terms with the news.

I first got to know George at various Labour Party Scottish Conferences in the late 1970s.   I was the Secretary of West Lothian CLP and George was part of a well organised team who represented the then Berwick and East Lothian CLP.   We didn't always see eye to eye but I knew for a fact that George was a tremendous organiser and that he genuinely represented the views of the party and of the wider community in East Lothian.

I subsequently got a job as NUPE's Scottish research officer in 1981 and low and behold who should be on the Divisional Council and the Chair of the political committee but George!   From that day on we worked well together notwithstanding the occasional difference of opinion.

When I moved to Head Office in 1985 we continued to work together around NUPE Conference and George played a big part in some of the key debates in the run up to the UNISON merger in 1993.

I also know that there were a group of younger members in the union back in the early 1980s, many of whom are now full-time officials, MPs or MSPs, who owe a great debt of gratitude to George for his support and advice.

His impact went much further than Prestonpans and East Lothian and he'll be greatly missed by so many of us.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely



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