Obit­u­ary - Ken­neth Cameron,

1942 - 2016

The Oban Times - - Birth, Marriage & Deaths -

TRIBUTES have been paid to the ‘great­est union leader of his gen­er­a­tion’ from Fort Wil­liam who has died, aged 74.

Ken­neth Cameron, who was the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the Fire Bri­gades Union (FBU) and per­haps best known for play­ing a key back­ground role in the min­ers’ strike of 1984/85, fur­ther he re­ceived the Free­dom of the Burgh on Fort Wil­liam by Lochaber Coun­cil in 2000.

Ken­neth, known as Ken, was the el­dest son of the late, Kenny ‘Friend’ Cameron and Eileen Cameron, and older brother to Don­ald ‘Skee­gan’ Cameron, the for­mer High­land Coun­cil­lor for Fort Wil­liam. His late mother, Eileen came from Ire­land, and he cred­ited her for giv­ing him his fire­brand fight­ing spirit.

In his early ca­reer, Ken spent a short but tu­mul­tuous time as a reporter on the Aberdeen Press and Jour­nal. He served a brief stint as a po­lice­man in the High­lands be­fore find­ing his feet in the fire ser­vice.

An­other of Ken’s achieve- ments was be­com­ing first gen­eral sec­re­tary to bring a pro-Pales­tine mo­tion at the Trades Union Congress in 1982, and also made Mr Man­dela an hon­ourary mem­ber of the FBU in 1990. Mr Cameron made such an im­pres­sion that Man­dela wrote to him on his re­tire­ment via tele­gram.

Alan McLean, FBU pres­i­dent, said: ‘Ken was a hum­ble man, small in stature but who walked with gi­ants, count­ing Fidel Cas­tro and Nel­son Man­dela as friends and com­rades. Ken will be mourned not only by our move­ment but by work­ers all over the world.’

Frances O’Grady, Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, TUC said Ken would never let a tough sit­u­a­tion hin­der him get­ting a laugh. He added: ‘Ken was one of the great­est union lead­ers of his gen­er­a­tion.

‘When the go­ing got tough, Ken was the kind of man you’d want by your side. De­ter­mined but al­ways with a kindly twin­kle in his eye, Ken could find hu­mour in the most un­promis­ing of cir­cum­stances.’

Ken re­tired to Glas­gow but was a reg­u­lar visi­tor to fam­ily and friends in Fort Wil­liam, es­pe­cially for Ca­manachd Cup Shinty Fi­nals which his brother Don­ald says is one of the sto­ries which he finds most en­ter­tain­ing.

Don­ald con­tin­ued: ‘ Ken never for­got his roots. He was very fond of Fort Wil­liam and was burst­ing with pride af­ter the shinty fi­nal in 1992. Peo­ple might not know this but Ken ac­tu­ally had an en­gage­ment down south to at­tend af­ter the fi­nal where he got chat­ting to some Ital­ian guests, he re­lived the whole match for them and told them they weren’t the only sport­ing cham­pi­ons. Only Ken could get away with things like that and still make friends.’

Ken passed away on Mon­day 16th May af­ter a long bat­tle with can­cer. He is sur­vived by his wife Nola and his two adult chil­dren, from his first mar­riage and his grand­chil­dren. His fu­neral took place on Tues­day (31st May) at Linn Cre­ma­to­rium.

Ken Cameron re­mem­bered for his achieve­ments and for his hu­mour

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