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George Stone

Former trade union official and journalist George Stone died recently after a short stay in hospital.

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Born in Fulham, London, in 1907, George began his work- ing life making mock-up models of aircraft in wood, and during the Second World War worked for the Aeronautical Inspection Department. A member of the Independent Labour Party, George met his wife, Hazel, at a conference in Brighton. They married in Martha Street Registry Office, Glasgow, in 1954 and set up home in Croftfoot, on the south side of the city. George worked for the left-wing publication, New Leader, before joining The Glasgow Herald in the early sixties as a sub-editor. His political leanings led him to become involved in the National Union of Journalists's Glasgow Herald chapel and he was elected father of the chapel. In the mid-sixties, the NUJ National Executive in London decided that a full-time official should be appointed to look after the union's affairs in Scotland and Northern England. George by this time was 59, and he felt that he was too old for the job so did not apply. His union activities in The Glasgow Herald had, however, attracted the attention of the National Executive, and the late Andrew Hargrave, an industrial reporter with the Scottish Daily Express and a member of the NEC, approached George and urged him to apply for the job. George duly did so and in 1966 was appointed to the position. His arrival came at a time when the NUJ was in turmoil in Scotland. Until then, agreements with employers were on a national basis, but the various newspaper chapels at the Daily Record, Scottish Daily Express, and Glasgow Herald were agitating to be allowed to negotiate their own individual house agreements. This put them in conflict with union policy, which recognised only national agreements. George had the difficult task of trying to enforce the unpopular policy. This brought him into conflict with local activists who were taking unofficial industrial action to secure local agreements. Despite these difficulties, George was a popular union official, and was held in high regard for his personal integrity. His straightforward and honest approach was appreciated and helped to prevent the relationship between the membership and head office breaking down completely. George retired in December, 1975 at the age of 69, and he and Hazel enjoyed a long retirement in their flat in Shawlands, Glasgow, where they had moved to after 28 happy years in Croftfoot. Away from politics, George's other passion was Fulham Football Club, and right to the end he followed their progress through the sports pages of The Herald. He died peacefully in the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow, where he had been a patient for three weeks. He is survived by his wife, Hazel.

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