Former Preston councillor was a 'true gentleman and socialist'

Warm tributes have been paid to former Preston councillor and leading trade union activist Dave Wilson who has died at the age of 78.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 28th March 2022, 3:45 pm

The former probation officer, described by Lancashire's ex-Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw as "a true gentleman and socialist," had been ill for some time.

Dave, who was a prominent member of the Public and Commercial Services Union in the county, served on the city council for four years, representing the Riversway Ward for Labour between 2010 and 2014. During that time he was the council's lead member for health.

His death comes just two weeks after Labour in the city lost another key member in long-serving Coun John Browne.

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Labour's Dave Wilson represented the Riversway ward on Preston Council for four years.

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Andy O'Donnell, an officer with the PCS Union for North West and Central Lancashire said: "Dave was the exemplar of a great trade unionist and rep – supporting every single cause, standing on every picket line and keen to lend a hand to anyone who needed help.

"Whether he was inspecting workplaces as a health and safety rep, fighting someone’s corner as a personal case worker, or speaking at a branch executive committee, AGM or conference meeting, Dave always fought vigorously for workers’ rights.

"As a strong advocate of workers safety and rights for disabled workers Dave attended all Workers Memorial Day events either as a marshal, speaker or supporter and spent time as chair of the NW TUC Disabled Members' Forum.

Dave Wilson was a prominent trade union figure for many years in Lancashire (Image: Preston Labour).

"Dave’s résumé as an activist was formidable. Neither age nor illness prevented him from getting involved in a cause he felt passionate about."

A graduate of Southampton University, Dave Wilson was a senior engineer with Mille-Goss-Dexter (Goss) between 1960 and 1972, working around the world.

He became a probation officer with Westmoreland Probation and After-care Service in 1973 and joined Greater Manchester Probation Service in 1979. He then worked for HM Revenue and Customs between 1998 and 2012 when he retired.

At the time of his death he was an executive member of the North West TUC and chair of the Trustees for Disability Equality (NW) Ltd based in Preston.

Dave carrying the banner at a Workers' Memorial Day in Preston (Image: Preston Labour).

He was also co-chair of the North West TUC's Workers Disability Forum and president of the Lancashire Association of Trades Councils - all positions he had held for more than a decade.

He was also a governor of a primary school in Penwortham and a member of the Friends of Avenham and Miller Park in Preston. He leaves a widow Audrey.

The Preston Labour Party said on Facebook: "We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Labour councillor Dave Wilson. Dave was councillor for Riversway from 2010-2014 and was an active PCS Union member until the day he died. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP."

Former colleague Anis Faruki said: "He was a good guy."

Dave was an executive member of the TUC in the North West (Image: Preston Labour).

And Melanie Close added: "Dave’s friends and colleagues at Disability Equality are so sad at his passing.

"Dave was a long-standing trustee and chair of the board, he made many friends and was a proud supporter of our work and campaigned with us to improve the rights of disabled people. We shall miss him so much."

And Julie Humphrey wrote: "Another sad loss for Preston and the Labour Party."