Hundreds of people packed into Falkirk Football Club’s Westfield Stadium on Friday November 4 to celebrate the life of Campbell Christie. The former General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress died, aged 74, on October 28 and was buried at a private service in Kirkcudbrightshire.
His family felt the stadium, where he’d spent many happy hours following his team and chairing the Club, was the appropriate place to hold the public tribute but warned everyone to wrap up well and be prepared to be exposed to the elements.
As it was, the day was dry and sunny and the body heat of the several hundred people who attended and the warmth of feeling for the late Campbell and for his family, helped keep everyone happy.
Current STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith said that Campbell had taken over at the STUC in 1986 during ‘most challenging times’ for Scottish industry and workers. ‘But he liked a challenge!’
Grahame paid tribute to his predecessor’s skills in negotiation and people management. ‘He was a master of the gentle art of persuasion,’ he said. One of Scotland’s most outstanding trade union and civic leaders, Campbell Christie led the Scottish TUC through the 1980s and 1990s. ‘He was never afraid of taking the difficult decision, even if he knew it might upset the others in the Labour movement. He always saw the bigger picture,’ said Grahame.
A message from First Minister Alex Salmond was read and said Campbell had been ‘unstinting in his public service right up to the end.’ The family expressed their thanks to Mr Salmond for his support during Campbell’s illness.
Among his many civic responsibilities, Campbell served on Boards as diverse as Forth Valley NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise, British Waterways, Age Concern Falkirk, Central Scotland Race Equality Council and the Scottish Premier League. In Scotland, he was appointed to the Scottish Futures Forum through the Scottish Parliament and in Europe he was Vice President of the European Union Economic and Social Committee’s section for Cohesion and Economic affairs – among many other appointments. He was honoured by five universities and made CBE in the Queen’s 1997 Birthday Honours list.
Tributes were paid by his son Doug Christie, brother Leslie and granddaughter Lindsey. And singers Dick Gaughan and MSP Cathy Peattie, also raised their voices, tunefully, to honour the man.
The stadium where the Celebration was held was opened when Campbell was Chairman of the Board of Falkirk Football Club, said present chairman, Martin Ritchie. ‘This is part of his legacy to the people of Falkirk and to the club he served so well.’
In closing, his friend Professor Andrew Scott positioned Campbell’s unique contribution in the history of Scotland. ‘He was an exceptional man who did exceptional things. All of Scotland will miss him,’ he said.