Obituary: John Anderson (1943-2022)

John Anderson, a lifelong co-operator, has died at the age of 79

The UK movement is mourning the loss of Scottish co-operator John Anderson, who has died aged 79. He served he co-operatives for 52 years, having started his working career at Invicta Co-op. 

As his career progressed, John worked in the Royal Arsenal Co-op as assistant non-food manager, before joining the Scottish Wholesale Society in Glasgow as a development manager in 1971. Following this position, he undertook the role of chief executive officer and secretary of North Tayside, Kilwinning and Strathaven, until the society transferred engagements to Scotmid in 1998. He then served on the Scotmid Board and represented members from the North of Scotland’s Regional Committee.  

John acted as a director of Co-operatives UK for more than 30 years and served on the Boards of Trafford Press, Co-operative Wholesale Society and Co-operative Press (which publishes Co-op News). In addition, he was a member of – and served on – the Central Executive Co-op Union and Co-op Party NEC. 

Born in Prestonpans, the son of Jimmy and Bel, John was the middle of five children. After studying Economics in Edinburgh, he went on to study at the Co-operative college in Loughborough. Shortly after graduating, he married Aileen, his childhood sweetheart. In 1974, his career took them to Montrose; the town the Andersons made their forever home.  

John was heavily involved in his local community. He was a founding director of Radio Tay, and took on several roles on local boards, including: chair of Montrose Academy Board; member of the Board of Governors for the Rossie Approved School; non-executive director of Angus NHS Trust; chair of Montrose Community Council; vice-chair of the Montrose Port Authority; and a director of children’s charity, Total Golf.  He was president and secretary of Montrose Rotary Club, and was awarded the Paul Harris trophy.  He was captain, then match secretary of Royal Montrose Golf Club.

John regularly returned to Midlothian to watch his beloved football team, Hearts FC, and to enjoy theatrical shows, especially enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He leaves behind his dearly loved wife, Aileen, his children, Jennifer and Jeremy, son-in-law of Mark and grandchildren, Ruaraidh, Finlay, Verity, Toby, Ethan and Jason.