A LEGEND of the Clyde shipyards has died after a long battle with illness.

Sammy Gilmore was the outspoken and highly respected convener of shop stewards for the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) in Govan. He died in a Glasgow care home on Saturday at the age of 72, with son Maurice by his side.

Mr Gilmore, who was known to all as Sammy, retired in 1989 after a lifetime of dedicated service to his fellow shipyard workers.

He was at the centre of the famous 1971 work-in in the Govan yards when, rather than go on strike over UCS going into liquidation, the union leadership asked members to work on and complete the orders that the yards had in place. Sammy along with colleagues Jimmy Airlie, Sammy Barr, and Jimmy Reid, were the public face of the work-in and proved the long-term viability of the yards.

Jim Moohan, chairman of the Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions, remembered Sammy as a "godsend" to the shipyards.

Jim said: "I'm very sad today – I can see Sammy's face in front of my eyes.

"I miss him already.He was one of the finest characters of the Clyde, whose knowledge and experience in dealing with politicians really stood out.

"He was a godsend to the UCS and to Govan, a tremendous man who will be sadly missed."

Born and raised in the Calton, Sammy's first job was as a van boy on the Evening Times' delivery trucks.

He started his shipyard career as an electrician before rising through the ranks of the union to became works convener.

Sammy treated every- one he met in exactly the same way, whether he was speaking to a welder or the Queen Mother, who he famously asked whether she kept her fresh-faced appearance by taking youth pills.

He is survived by his wife Margaret, son Maurice, daughter Lyn and four grandchildren.

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk