GMB Magazine GMB25 Candid Summer 2016 - Page 29

Visit GMB online at www.gmb.org.uk In memory of John Cope d and ation. London’s former Regional Secretary will be sadly missed I t is great with sadness that we report the passing of former London Regional Secretary John Cope, who passed away on 12 April 2016 following a short and sudden illness. For the many of us who knew John, his family, friends and colleagues, his loss is boundless and immeasurable. John was born in January 1931 and grew up around Islington and Archway in North London. During World War II he was evacuated, initially to Luton and then to Somerset, where he spent happy times with his ‘adopted’ family on a farm. John left school at 14 and a few years later joined the P&O Line as a steward, travelling and learning about the world. He met and then married his beloved wife, Joan, and they had four children and nine grandchildren. CHANGED FOREVER After P&O John had a variety of jobs at local factories, in film studios and then at Hoover in Perivale where he became shop steward, branch convenor and later secretary. As a lay delegate to GMB Congress, TUC and Labour Party conferences, John challenged the establishment and was a persuasive speaker. He came up with the famous Perivale motion on pre-Congress delegates meetings, which changed forever the voting intentions of delegates within GMB regions. During his time in GMB, John built strong, lasting friendships, including with Mary Turner and Paul Kenny. In Mary, John saw passion and commitment as she tackled inequality and unfairness. When Mary became the first woman lay executive member for London, it was John who was Mary’s shield, guarding her from those in high office. In 1985 John became London Regional Secretary and when he retired in 1991 he had laid the foundation blocks for GMB’s turnaround, which Paul Kenny continued and led. GREAT WISDOM Following John’s retirement, he sat as a wing member on Employment Tribunals, headed up the GMB London and Southern Region Construction Section and assisted the CDNA. In more recent years John continued to offer his knowledge and wisdom to all who sought it, be they lay member, branch officer or employee. John Cope was a real giant among men. He will be truly and dearly missed by everyone. Rex Features The John Cope Trust John’s legacy to GMB members is The John Cope Trust, a fund which can help you seek new and better opportunities. It was founded in 1997 and provides support for GMB members who want to undertake courses such as teacher training, law, politics, health and safety, and more. Money from the Trust can be used to help cov