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Dick Green

Prominent social worker;

Born: August 28, 1923; Died: December 2, 2012.

Dick Green, who has died aged 89, was a leading social worker in Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s, rising to become depute director of social work for Strathclyde Regional Council.

He was born in London, christened Victor, and baptised Richard, but was always known as Dick. He was the youngest of two sons and when his mother died, he moved to Newbury with his brother, Reg, to be cared for by their aunt. He had little contact with his father.

Even though Reg joined the RAF in 1936 and was killed in action in 1941, his brother joined the RAF at the earliest opportunity and harboured a wish to be a pilot. However, his poor eyesight prevented him ever flying in combat. He was an armourer and spent his time arming fighter aircraft of all types throughout the war.

He met the woman he would marry, Muriel Gladys Towers in 1940 when he was 17 and she was 16. They married in 1945 and had five children.

At the end of the Second World War, he resumed his career in local government as a clerk in the education department. With the development of the children's department he transferred there as a clerk and then as a children's officer (the forerunners of what are now social workers).

With this new career came a new passion for helping others, sometimes even to the detriment of his own children. The progress to promotion took him from Reading to Chester to London and ultimately to Lanarkshire in 1970, where as depute director of social work supportive services he worked with Jim Gregory, who was the director of social work and the first director of social work for Strathclyde Regional Council.

In 1976 he became depute director of social work under Jim Gregory and then Fred Edwards. He enjoyed a happy and long career in social work in Scotland and always spoke with warm affection of the people he worked with.

He retired in 1983 when he and his wife moved to Somerset to enjoy their retirement and garden. He threw himself into village life and worshipped regularly at the local church, learning campanology along the way.

Local people went to him to talk through problems – he sometimes joked he was the village psycho-counselling service – but he was good at unpacking a problem and offering advice without emotion.

When his wife died in 1999, he was deeply bereft, although this recognition of mortality seemed to make him realise how much more he still wanted to achieve. In the last 14 years of his life he travelled to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Prague, Berlin, Rome, Paris and Portugal. He was brave and took risks – he stayed with people who were strangers but became friends, he took epic road trips up the California highway, to the glaciers of the South Island of New Zealand, a train ride across the Rockies, a trip to Uluru and swimming on the Barrier Reef. He continued to be curious about the world around him and what he could learn from it.

As his health and mobility deteriorated it became more difficult for him to stay on his own and he spent the last two years of his life at Glastonbury Care Home.

He is survived by five children, eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

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