Obituary: David Eaglesham, 63

David Eaglesham had many friends in teaching. Picture: contributed
David Eaglesham had many friends in teaching. Picture: contributed
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TRIBUTES have been paid to a former general secretary of the Edinburgh-based Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, who has died following a long illness.

David Eaglesham held the post between 1996 and 2008, and during that time his efforts were described as “outstanding”.

He began his career teaching history and modern studies at Govan High School in Glasgow before moving to Mearns High. He then became principal teacher of modern studies at Cathkin High.

Away from the classroom, he gave up much of his time to school rugby teams and leading exchange trips to Holland and Germany.

Mr Eaglesham was also a keen singer and musician and got involved in school stage productions. Friends said his sense of fun and sense of humour “made him popular with staff and pupils alike”.

It was during his time at Cathkin, in the 1980s, that he began to show an interest in the work of the SSTA, soon becoming the district secretary of the Glasgow division.

By 1994 he had risen to the role of assistant general secretary, two years before he landed the top job.

He was one of the chief negotiators of the McCrone Agreement, which improved teachers’ pay and conditions.

Michelle Moran of the SSTA recalled lighter moments in Mr Eaglesham’s company.

She said: “It involved a visit to the downtown bar area in Pattaya in Thailand.

“It all ended in the usual singing with most of us doing our tuneless raucous pieces.

“When David’s turn came he silenced an entire bar full of international revellers with a fantastic rendition of the Irish ballad She Moved Through The Fair.”

Tributes to Mr Eaglesham – whose death at the age of 63 was announced on Monday – were led by Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell.

He said: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of David Eaglesham, with whom I worked closely when I was in opposition, and whose advice I valued greatly, as did his union members.

“I would offer my condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed. David was committed to serving his fellow teachers through his work with the SSTA and his interests more broadly in Scottish education.”

Alan McKenzie, the SSTA’s acting general secretary, said: “David brought to the post a sense of tirelessness and, sometimes in the face of much opposition, a determination to change the SSTA and increase its profile nationally.

“Those of us who worked with him remember his huge contribution.

“We are all deeply saddened by his death following a long illness.”

Mr Eaglesham, who was events co-ordinator for St Michael’s Parish Church in Linlithgow, is survived by his wife, Doreen, his children and four grandchildren.