Many of you will be aware that Ian recently passed away and was cremated on 5 June. It was nice to see many of his colleagues attending, despite his enforced absence, effectively from the world, over the last five or six years. His wife and son were touched by the turn-out and the feelings expressed on the day. At the funeral Dave Rogan gave the eulogy which brought to mind many happy memories, we shared many more after the service.
When asked to write something for Napo news we readily agreed. Ian was known through his Napo roles, as branch chair, chair of TUO committee, Chair of the PSO Forum, TUC delegate, National vice chair and many other roles which he always undertook with relish. He loved representing members and was committed to justice and equality.
But what of the memories of the real Ian that we both knew and loved as a friend? Mike first met Ian in 1993 and Richard in 1999. He led us and we happily followed. An active band of local branch members who were always there to help and always enjoyed meeting up. Without any doubt the man we first met was honest and dedicated, a truly committed trade unionist and a man unprepared to compromise his principles or integrity. A man who loved his family deeply and was there for his friends whenever he was needed. A man who would never let a Napo member down. A genuinely erudite man who was always good company and always amusing. Not a man who sought out popularity or shied away from controversy. Not a man to bear a grudge. Not a man for modern politics.
He has been described as idiosyncratic which we think he would like. It’s fair to say that he was often seen as eccentric, more so by those who knew him less well or did not recognise his tongue in cheek irony. He was certainly a one-off.
If you aren’t aware he has been in a home for the last few years as he was badly afflicted by Dementia. It’s not clear when that illness started to taint his personality but we are pretty sure that it was well before he retired from his job and from Napo. It’s likely in this period that many who knew him excused him too often and many who did not know him excused him not at all. He wasn’t the man at the end that we met at the beginning. Had he been aware and fully functioning I’m sure he would have insisted on making many apologies where they were needed and probably many more that were not. But hindsight is what it is, and it makes fools of us all.
For those of you who were helped by him, or know someone who was, for those who enjoyed his company or support, for those who considered him a friend and for those who missed him before his death and since, then I know you will have given him a moments thought and no doubt brought to mind a happy memory.
For those who want to give more than a moments thought his wife, Mary, suggested that a donation to a Dementia charity would be a good way to mark his passing.
Ian Windows-Yule, a man easy to love and hard to forget. May he rest in peace.
Mike Weston and Richard Beard