The Scottish National Party announced with great sadness the death of Allison Hunter, Glasgow City councillor in Govan and the party’s former National Organiser. After a long period of illness, Allison passed away yesterday evening.
Leading the tributes, Scottish National Party Leader and First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“Allison Hunter was a party stalwart and much-loved person – her contribution over a period of many years was immense, and she was at the heart of some of the SNP’s most successful and important campaigns.
“As the party’s full-time National Organiser, Allison built the operation which went on to achieve such spectacular results across Scotland, and since 2007 she served her beloved city of Glasgow as a councillor with dedication and distinction.
“Allison will be sorely missed, not just by her countless friends in the SNP but right across the political spectrum.
“My deepest condolences go to Allison’s husband Ian; children Mhairi, Fiona and Roy; and grandchildren Kathleen and Andrew.”
SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Allison fought her illness bravely to the end, and my thoughts are with Ian, Mhairi, Fiona and Roy at this desperately sad time.
“Alison’s contribution to the national success the SNP has enjoyed in recent years cannot be overstated. As National Organiser, she trained and mentored so many of us who are now MSPs, councillors and organisers.
“Allison’s leadership of Glasgow SNP in the 2012 local elections was absolutely exemplary, and it is a measure of her dedication to the cause she loved that she took on this responsibility despite the health challenges she had already faced.
“I personally owe Allison an enormous debt of gratitude. She was a constant source of advice and support.
“It is no exaggeration to say that I would not have won Govan in 2007 without the guidance of Allison as my election agent. It was a source of great pride to all of us in Govan SNP that, having also served as agent to Jim Sillars in the 1988 by-election, she was elected as councillor for Govan in 2007. Allison was a first class councillor and her constituents will miss her dearly.
“I will miss Allison as a friend, colleague, mentor, election agent and much-loved convener of the Glasgow Southside SNP Constituency Association.”
Allison Hunter (71) was born on 8 January 1942 to Thomas and Anne Anderson of Kinning Park, Glasgow. The family were later rehoused in Ruchhazie after their home was demolished to make way for the Kingston Bridge. Allison attended Centre Street Primary School in Kinning Park and Albert Road Academy in Pollokshields before training at Jordanhill Teacher Training College as a primary school teacher.
Allison taught for a number of years in Glasgow and married Ian Hunter in 1963. In the same year they moved to London and Allison continued to teach. Ian and Allison lived in London for 16 years and during this time had three children. In 1979 the family returned to Glasgow and Allison taught in Pollok and then Barlanark.
Both Allison and Ian had been active members of the SNP London branch and continued to be very active SNP members on their return to Glasgow. In 1988 Allison was chosen to be election agent for Jim Sillars in the Govan by-election. Following the success of that campaign she was appointed National Organiser of the SNP and left teaching to work for the party full-time.
Allison worked for the SNP until 2002, when she retired as a full-time SNP official at the age of 60. She continued to work for the SNP off and on however supporting election campaigns. During her period as National Organiser Allison trained thousands of activists and was instrumental in improving the SNP’s grassroots organisational and campaigning capacity.
In 2007 she was Nicola Sturgeon’s election agent in Govan and also stood as a council candidate in Govan ward. She was successful in both elections. She was also John Mason’s election agent for the Glasgow East by-election in 2008.
Allison was chosen to be leader of the SNP council group in Glasgow in 2011 and led the SNP campaign in 2012 which delivered an increase in councillors for the SNP. She resigned as group leader following the election, as her health began to fail.
Allison had successfully fought breast cancer in 2011 but was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in June 2012. She successfully underwent chemotherapy and was in remission until June/July 2013 when she became ill again. Tests showed that the lymphoma had returned in a more aggressive form. Despite a valiant effort from staff at the Southern General Hospital and the Beatson Centre she died suddenly on the evening of 23 July 2013.
Allison is survived by her husband Ian, her sister Anne, her children Fiona, Mhairi and Roy and her grandchildren Kathleen and Andrew.