Tribute to ‘warm, reliable and kind’ union secretary who taught at Lister for 32 years

Iain Hale taught at Lister for 32 years. Picture: Lesley Hale

Iain Hale taught at Lister for 32 years. Picture: Lesley Hale - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a teacher and trade unionist who died suddenly last week aged 59.

Iain Hale, joint secretary of Newham District of the National Education Union, was born in Newham and went to Rokeby School.

He taught at Lister school for 32 years, and was hugely liked and respected by students and colleagues.

In the local teachers union, then the NUT, he was health and safety officer for many years, being well-known for his expertise in the borough and beyond.

Iain was elected Newham’s NUT assistant secretary and more recently became full time joint secretary, as the NUT became the NEU.

He worked with people from all sides and views. He was a governor at Plaistow Primary School for many years.

He gained respect for his knowledge and commitment from union members, heads, governors, and local authority personnel.

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Iain always put the union and its members first.

Countless union members have benefited from his representing them, in individual casework and in collective disputes.

He was also London regional treasurer. NEU officers, executive members and other London secretaries remember him taking responsibility, often for thankless tasks, and tackling them with good humour and efficiency.

In Newham, Iain was a constant support on NEU picket lines – in recent times during the anti-academisation strikes and the sixth form college strike days.

As he approached retirement, he focused on building the capacity of younger members to step up.

Successful in this, he had promised to continue to support these new officers with his knowledge and experience. And he was to continue as a union officer in the treasurer’s role.

Those of us privileged to have known Iain and worked with him will miss him badly.

His warmth, humour, and generosity, his reliability and kindness. He was a solid rock of support. He always found time to talk to you and to help.

At the point where he could enjoy retirement, he had only one week free of care. He was going to join family at his local, The Black Lion, the week of his death.

He will be sorely missed and remembered with great affection.