Obituary: Ian Miller (1948-2020)

'A great character, with a big heart, and an unquenchable passion for a better world'

The UK co-op movement has been paying tribute to Scottish co-operator Ian Miller, vice-chair of Scottish Labour and a member of the Co-operative Party’s NEC. He had only recently stood down from the board of Scotmid Society.

John (Ian) Miller (1948-2020) had been a branch manager of the Penicuik Scotmid department store for 15 years, and held many positions within the co-operative movement, including serving on the SCS board of directors. 

He was a Scottish Labour and Co-operative candidate in the 2010 general election in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat, as well as being a Holyrood candidate in the 2011 election, and was a founding member of Fairtrade Midlothian.

Jim McMahon MP, chair of the Co-operative Party, said: “Ian was a passionate co-operator and tireless in his efforts for the Labour and Co-operative movements. He gave almost unparalleled service to Scottish Labour, the Scottish Co-operative Party and Scotmid Co-operative. Ian was always a supportive, engaged and encouraging presence in the Co-operative Party. We will miss him greatly.”

“The whole of the Scottish Labour Party has been shocked and saddened by the news of Ian Miller’s death,” said Richard Leonard MSP, leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

“He represented all that was best about the labour and co-operative movement. It is a matter of huge regret that he never became chair of his cherished Scottish Labour Party, a position he was due to take up this year but for the intervention of the Covid restrictions. A great character, with a big heart, and an unquenchable passion for a better world, once met he was never forgotten. He will be greatly missed. 

“The best way to honour his memory is to keep fighting for the co-operative ideal and the cause of Labour that was such a central part of his life. Rest in peace, Ian.”

Harry Cairney, chair of Scotmid Co-operative, added: “Ian Miller [was a] true gent. Someone who dedicated his life supporting and working to deliver co-operative values and principles, dedicated to fairness and equality, an ambassador for Fairtrade. A true Labour stalwart. Colleague, and fellow director of Scotmid Co-operative. RIP friend.”

The Scottish Co-operative Party said that Ian “was a stalwart of the Labour and Co-operative movement” and that it would “continue to work for a more co-operative Scotland” in his memory.

Ian was a director of Co-operative Education Trust Scotland and formerly a director of Co-operative Mutuality Scotland. He represented Midlothian Council on the Prison Visiting Committee for eight years, helping offenders who were having problems within the penal system, and a long-serving committee member of Penicuik Athletic Football Club. 

“Ian was involved in the club for many a year and gave us great support and assistance. He was a part of the wider Penicuik community [and] will be missed by all, in all walks of life,” said a statement from the club. A minute’s silence will be held by Penicuik Athletic before its match on Saturday 7 November against Tynecastle. 

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