In recent days we have lost two people who meant so much to our union, and who were a huge part of making UNISON strong. Brenda Hudson and Danny Gillespie were both people I was proud to know, and whose lives were dedicated to supporting public services and everyone who works in them.
Brenda, a proud Yorkshire woman, was one of the three founding Presidents of our union, having played a lead role in the negotiations that established the union in 1993. She was never afraid to speak out and challenge injustice and her campaigning prowess was famous and respected across her branch, her region and nationally.
Danny Gillespie, a former member of our NEC, passed away on Sunday after a long illness. He joined the union over thirty years ago and played a leadership role in the electricity industry at branch, Scottish and UK level through the challenging times of privatisation in the late ‘80s. Danny was part of a long line of Scottish heavy hitters in our union and was elected to UNISON’s NEC in 1991. He continued to be an active member until he became ill.
The loss of friends and activists like Danny and Brenda is always difficult, and the thoughts of everyone at UNISON are with their loved ones. But we should remember all that they fought for, and be spurred on by their example in the years ahead – because they were both tenacious fighters for everything our union holds dear.