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Member of Honour Mary Beilby dies aged 76

28 August 2012

Mary Beilby, who has died aged 76, was a member of honour of the National Union of Journalists.

She had served her colleagues as secretary of Derby and Burton branch of the union for 25 years, and was also actively involved with a number of local organisations.

Kevin Palmer, chair of Derby and Burton branch, said:

"Mary had played a major part in the branch for almost three decades as secretary and then later as treasurer as well, in addition to attending conferences.

"She was dedicated to the positions she held and the work that she did with the NUJ locally, just as she was with the various other organisations that she was associated with. She will be sadly missed by many people."

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet NUJ, said:

"For years Mary, was a familiar and much respected figure at our conferences.
"She was thrilled when she rightly received a standing ovation from delegates at Southport last year as she was presented with Membership of Honour, our highest accolade, to mark her unwavering commitment and sterling service to the NUJ and the wider trade union movement."

When presenting Mary's citation as a member of honour at the NUJ delegate meeting in Southport in 2011, Northern and Midlands organiser Chris Morley said she was a person of indomitable spirit.

"Mary is one of the unsung heroes of the NUJ, as steady as a rock and literally enabling the union to exist in her quietly understated way.
"Mary was a tremendous character who believed with every sinew in the importance of workers standing shoulder to shoulder collectively in trade unions. But she also put her beliefs into practice and worked tirelessly, not only for her NUJ branch, but also with great solidarity in supporting the campaigns of other trade unions and community groups.
"Fiercely independent, Mary always made light of the difficult hand she had been dealt with in terms of her health and disability and just got on with things. You knew that if Mary said she was going to do something, she would do it and do it well.
"Her spirit won much respect among her NUJ colleagues but also huge admiration outside of the union too - a credit to the NUJ. I was proud to be able to present Mary with her certificate qualifying her for the status of NUJ Member of Honour at the 2011 Delegate Meeting, and never was it more richly deserved."

An obituary of Mary Beilby appears in the Hold the Front Page website:

Tributes paid after death of blind journalist and NUJ activist (Hold the Front Page, 24 August 2012)

Tags: , newspapers, Mary Beilby, derby and burton branch, members of honour