Obituary for Bob Quick: A Tribute to the Life of Bob Quick

My father, Bob Quick, passed away at the age of 68. He was a senior trade union official and a strong advocate for the NHS.

During his teenage years, while training as a nurse, he gained recognition by leading a campaign for a pay raise for nurses in 1974 as a representative of the Confederation of Health Service Employees union. This led to his transition from nursing to becoming Cohse’s youngest full-time regional official at the age of 19.

For 24 years, he worked as a paid officer with Cohse, where he was involved in various aspects of industrial relations. He represented members in grievance procedures, misconduct hearings, pay negotiations, and industrial disputes. He was also instrumental in building campaigns and organizing and training shop stewards.

Following the merger of Cohse with two other public sector unions to form Unison, he continued his work with Unison. He had an internationalist perspective and later led trade union education projects in Bulgaria, Romania, and South Africa. He also engaged in solidarity work in Cuba and received a national medal from the country for his contributions in delivering medical aid during the US blockade.

Bob was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, to Jim, a Liverpudlian father, and Teresa (nee Geary), an Irish mother – both of whom were nurses. He grew up in Chester and attended Grange secondary modern school in Ellesmere Port followed by Upton-by-Chester high school. Following in his parents’ footsteps, he pursued a nursing career at the age of 16.

Given his father’s activism in Cohse since its establishment in 1946, it was natural for Bob to become involved in the union as well. In the early 80s, he also served as a Labour councillor in Liverpool, including a stint as chair of the library and arts committee.

In 1999, he left Unison to work as a UK project manager for the Community Mental Health Managers Association. He later became a workplace learning consultant at Derby College in 2000. In 2002, he joined West Yorkshire health authority as a learning development manager. In 2003, he moved on to become the deputy head for Yorkshire and Humber at the NHS University, an institution that provided training for NHS staff.

When the NHS University closed in 2005, he transitioned to managerial roles with NHS trusts in Barnsley and Rotherham, serving as deputy director of HR in Barnsley from 2005 to 2009 and associate director of HR in Rotherham from 2009 to 2013. Subsequently, he worked as an HR consultant with the Bart’s trust in London.

Eventually, his passion for the trade union movement brought him back. In 2014, he became the national officer for the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, and in 2021, he took on the role of London regional officer for the Society of Radiographers.

Mostly working from home in these positions, he was able to relocate to the village of Cromford in the Peak District of Derbyshire in 2016. He said, “If I can’t live near the Med or by the sea, I shall have views of hills and castles.” He retired in 2022.

Bob was married twice before, to Pauline and Gayle, but both marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by his third wife, Helen, whom he married in 2010. He is also survived by two daughters, Alice and [Your Name], from his first marriage, two children, Joe and Abigayle, from his second marriage, and two stepchildren, Emma and Paul, from Helen’s previous marriage. Additionally, he leaves behind eight grandchildren.

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