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21 March 2024

A tribute to Rodney Grainger
Accord President 1986–1996

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Obituary: Rodney Grainger, Accord President 1986 – 1996

Rodney with David Soul

We’re sad to report the passing of Accord’s longest-serving President and current trustee, Rodney Grainger, on 12th March, aged 78.

Rodney was one of our first workplace reps when the union was established in 1978 and went on to be elected as the national Vice-Chair in 1983. After being elected Chair in 1986, he guided the union for ten years, over a period of continuous growth in membership and influence.

Following his retirement from the Halifax, Rodney worked for British Rail but continued his association with Accord as a Trustee of the union. He was a regular at Accord’s biennial conferences and was always very proud of the union that he played such a big part in the development and evolution of.

Rodney was born into the austerity of Newcastle just after the end of the second World War and joined the Halifax Building Society in 1962. He progressed to become Branch Manager at Hexham in Northumberland before a promotion led to the family moving to Devon, where he lived for the rest of his life. But he was always a proud Geordie and followed his beloved Newcastle United from afar.

Ged Nichols said:

“Rodney was one of the giants of Accord and I hope he will be fondly remembered by our members and retired members of a ‘certain vintage’.

It was Rodney who offered me my first job in Accord and gave me wise counsel in my early years as a young union leader.

He was always great fun and loved the finer things in life. His sense of humour was ‘robust’ but he was always a gentleman.

We remained friends for the rest of his life – exchanging emails even in the last week before his sad passing.

The last time I saw him was in a restaurant near Reading in 2022. Always tickled by celebrity, Rodney made sure he got a photo with David Soul who was trying to enjoy a quiet meal. His joie de vivre never faded.

I’ll miss him but will always be grateful to him and smile whenever his name is mentioned. He was a good man and fine trade unionist.

Bless him.”

We send our condolences to Mark, Zoe and Dan.

Anyone with memories of Rodney is very welcome to get in touch and we’ll be sure to share your messages with the family.

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