Lives Remembered: Geoff Kelly
Thursday 14 June 2012
Industrial disputes and football refereeing have little in common except that both impinge on the public consciousness only when mistakes are made. My father Geoffrey Kelly, an industrial relations officer during the week and referee at weekends, was never happier than when his interventions, whether at the negotiating table or on the football pitch, went unnoticed.
Born in Woking in 1927, he attended Guildford Royal Grammar School, but left after his General Schools Certificate due to his family's financial circumstances. After serving with the British Army of Occupation in Austria he returned to work for Southern Railways in 1947 but, increasingly politically aware, took a job with his trade union, the Transport and Salaried Staff Association, in the early 1950s. In 1965 he crossed the negotiating table, moving to the Local Authorities Conditions of Service Advisory Board (LACSAB).
During this period LACSAB represented local authorities in national pay negotiations, meaning that he nownegotiated against, instead of for, the trade unions. This may appear a strange move for a former Labour activist, but he always claimed it took just as long to persuade the employers to put areasonable offer on the table as it did to get the unions to accept it. The 1970s were the heyday of collective bargaining and LACSAB was in the middle of this, facing down the big public sector unions such as the NUT and NALGO. Geoff inhabited the bleak no-man's land between political rhetoric andreality, and the Labour activist of the 1950s gradually turned into a committed floating voter.
Refereeing may not seem the most obvious choice of relaxation whenMonday to Friday involves trying to make two opposing parties see sense, but it reflected a deep love of football. One unlikely highlight of those days was to referee a match between a scratch team from a Butlin's holiday camp and Matt Busby's Manchester United, who were holding a pre-season training camp nearby.
Anxious not to stagnate mentally in retirement, Geoff served on industrial tribunals until he was 70. He specialised in race relations cases and his detailed knowledge of the relevant legislation allowed him to continue to broaden his cultural horizons even while he was in Bart's Hospital in 2007. Knowing that discrimination on the grounds of race or religion was illegal, he was able to eat a varied diet, choosing from the Halal menu one day, the kosher menu the next, and so on until he was discharged. He also helped weekly at two local schools almost until his final admission to hospital.
A committed Christian, he was a member of St Peter's Church, Harold Wood, for nearly 50 years. His faith gave him the moral courage to grapple with decisions of national significanceat the peak of his career, the humility to get on with unsung, unglamorous, jobs throughout his retirement andan inner serenity which lasted right up to the moment the final whistle blew. He died on 24 May at Queen's Hospital in Romford.
If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, colleague or family member please send a piece of no more than 400 words by email to email@example.com or by post to Obituaries, The Independent, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. We reserve the right to edit copy for length and style.
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...