Academic and author;
Born: February 23, 1943; Died: May 20, 2012.
Andy Gibb, who has died aged 69, was an inspirational educator, fundraiser, tireless worker on behalf of numerous charities and trusts and author of what is regarded as a key text on Glasgow.
He attended the city's Bellahouston Primary, leaving in 1953 as its youngest ever Dux. He moved on to Allan Glen's, which he, not unkindly, described as a "genteel borstal". In spite of his love of literature and learning he was desperate to leave school, and at 16 was working in Glasgow Corporation's assessor's office. Realising this was not where he wanted to spend his working life, he did Higher and university entrance exams at night school in Cardonald College.
In 1964, as a mature, married student with a young son, he should have been a role model for the younger undergraduates – but he wasn't. Among his many friends was another older student, Jim Rafferty. Sharing a similar sense of humour, they bravely decided to perform stunts at the university debates (much of the audience having decamped from the beer bar to view the stunts rather than listen to the debates).
Most acts were modelled on the TV show That Was The Week That Was and consisted of witty, satirical and topical monologues. They decided to be a bit different, still topical and witty but their comedy was expressed through song and dance, with a touch of Carry On double entendre and Wilson, Keppel & Betty thrown in for good measure. They were inordinately proud when voted stunt act of the year.
In spite of such diversions Mr Gibb went on to gain a first class joint honours degree in geography and archaeology, taking the medal for top student in geography. Thereafter, Professor Ronald Miller quickly recruited him as a lecturer in the university's geography department where he spent 24 fruitful years.
He published widely on numerous subjects from prehistoric remains to new towns and was a visiting lecturer at universities in Ohio, Kentucky, California and Pennsylvania. He was primarily a proud Glaswegian and the publication which gave him most pleasure was his book Glasgow: The Making of a City (1983). It remains a key text, exploring themes of urban change, population growth, migration and public health.
Perhaps his greatest strength was his easy and empathetic interaction with students who were drawn by his intelligence, integrity and wit. Teaching and research apart, he was instrumental in maintaining a high profile for the geography department during difficult times. Professor John Briggs recalls working with him to organise the Institute of British Geographers Conference (1990) which Prof Briggs believes was a major tipping point in reviving the department's fortunes.
Mr Gibb edited the university's graduate magazine, Avenue, from 1987 until 1992 and in 1989 became the university's first director of development. Later he became director of fundraising at The Prince's Trust Scotland.
By 1996, Mr Gibb and his wife Bette had set up a management consultancy business mainly focused on the charitable sector, working with organisations such as Mercy Ships UK and the National Lottery Charities Board (Scotland).
His commitment was unstinting. A major client was Lloyds/TSB Foundation Scotland with whom he worked for 13 years until his illness was diagnosed in October 2011. Here, he advised charities on tasks such as strategic planning and fundraising, always with a mutual high regard. He felt privileged helping charities, often working pro bono and, as their feedback attests, they were extremely grateful for his dedication and insight.
Through charity work he became involved with the Gloag Foundation and Ann Gloag invited the Gibbs to join her in Nairobi for the opening of the Jonathan Gloag Academy. This proved to be a life-changing event. They decided to sponsor a child at the orphanage served by the academy, eventually adopting Winnie, who arrived in Scotland, aged nine, with impaired mobility and no English. Ten years later Winnie walks very well, has sat Advanced Highers in English and history, and now has a conditional offer of a place at St Andrew's University. The couple continued to work with the Gloag Foundation and later, after a protracted struggle, adopted Douglas, who is proving to be a fine athlete.
Throughout his illness, Mr Gibb courageously maintained his wit and good humour. He was an optimistic and generous man who looked for little in return and had the rare gift of making people feel all the better for having been in his company.
He is sorely missed by friends, colleagues and family, most especially by Bette and their children, Stephen, David, Andrew, Winnie and Douglas.
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