Obituary: George Pitcher, 86

George Pitcher was dedicated to community activism. Picture: Brian Downie
George Pitcher was dedicated to community activism. Picture: Brian Downie
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George Pitcher, a well-known community activist, has died, aged 86.

Mr Pitcher passed away peacefully at his home late on Thursday night, following a short battle with illness.

The news came as a shock to the community in the Southside.

The 86 year-old, a native of Tyneside, had worked as a printer for De La Rue, the firm which produces biometric passports and specialises in printing banknotes for other countries around the world.

He lived in Edinburgh for many years, and was known as a man who believed in the power of community.

He was very much involved with different organisations, including the Edinburgh Tenants Federation and numerous other voluntary groups across the city.

In 2000, he was responsible for generating interest amongst local residents to establish the very first Southside Community Council.

He was also a former chair of the Southside Association, including a spell as the secretary, and he produced monthly local magazine The Southsider for a number of years. Following his retirement, he also worked as a lollipop man at Preston Primary School.

George had a great sense of humour and often told stories and very much enjoyed the company of others. Colin Christison from the Southside Association recalls how George had announced he would be visiting the “holy land”.

He said: “There was great interest and fascination about this, and he told everyone that he went there every year. Someone asked which part of the holy land was his favourite, to which he replied ‘Whitley Bay’!

“This gentle humour helped break the ice before what was probably an important meeting.

Councillor Jim Orr also paid tribute, saying: “George was a true community activist, literally till his dying breath. He would always say that no new idea to improve a community would ever work unless it came originally from that community.”

He added: “He was right of course, and it’s something us council people can too easily forget. Such wisdom is part of his legacy.”

George, known to all as a true gentleman, devoted his life to improving the quality of life for his local community and was also known to be fond of enjoying the spectacular views of Arthur’s Seat, the Crags and the Forth.

His funeral will take place at Mortonhall on Monday, February 23 at 1pm.

His contribution to the community will be greatly missed by everyone.