A STALWART of the Lancashire trade union movement has died, aged 83.
Clive Edwards, a teacher who fought tirelessly for workers’ rights over four decades, established the county’s first Trade Union Studies Centre at Blackburn College in the 1970s, which has since grown to provide more than 60 courses each year.
He was awarded the TUC Gold Badge in 2001, an honour reserved for just three people each year.
Peter Billington, secretary of Lancashire Association of Trade Union Councils, said: “Thousands of trade unionists will remember Clive as a person who gave them inspiration, knowledge and confidence.
“No one who suffered injustice from an employer and asked for his support would be turned away.
“He will be very badly missed by the many people who had the pleasure of his witty, friendly and well-informed company.”
Mr Edwards’ trade unionism was born out of the hardship and comradeship he experienced growing up in Maesteg, a mining town in south Wales, and he renewed his passion after taking up a teaching position at Blackburn College in 1970, where he worked until 1990.
He was a member of the University and College Union (UCU), formerly NATFHE, until his death, and chaired the Blackburn College branch throughout the 1970s and 80s. A Labour Party member for 45 years, Mr Edwards served as branch secretary and chair, although he advocated the launch of a new party when New Labour was established in the 1990s.
He was also a former chair of the Lancashire Association of TUC’s and was press officer for the Labour candidate who stood against Enoch Powell in the 1970 general election.
He was also a union member of Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley District Health Authority, NE Lancashire Manpower Services Commission and Manchester Employment Tribunal.
Mr Edwards, who never married, is survived by his sister, Olive Lewis, niece Ann Lewis, and great-nephew Owen Lewis.
His funeral will take place at Pleasington Crematorium at 1.30pm on Friday, August 29.