John Bell : 1946-2008

Wednesday 6 August 2008

John Bell

It is with great regret that StAnza wishes to announce the death of our valued trustee and board member John Bell. Many members of the Stanza audience will have fond memories of John who was a stalwart supporter of the festival and a regular attender at poetry events across Scotland.

John Bell was born in Glasgow in 1946. After his schooling, he attended Glasgow University, studying for the degree of B Ed. John’s career teaching Modern Studies, led ultimately to his appointment as Principal Teacher in Modern Studies at Glenrothes High School. After nine years as PT, John was appointed as the first ever Scottish Secretary of the Professional Association of Teachers, a post he held for six years.

In 1984 John was elected as a Liberal Councillor in Glenrothes serving for four years.  In 1990, John and his wife Catie moved to Lundin Links and in 2001 John was elected as LibDem councillor for Largo, representing the ward until 2007. John was also a director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, where he took an interest not only in the performance side of the orchestra but also the work that they do in schools.

In 2005 John was asked to join the Board of StAnza, and was a highly active member until his death. In this capacity he attended numerous board meetings, assisting in many aspects of the organisation’s work and advising on various matters, particularly those connected with the local administration. On top of that he was a regular attender at planning committee meetings and festival plenary meetings, always contributing pertinent and well-considered opinions.

John’s council connections enabled him to assist StAnza in numerous ways, most notably in arranging for the festival’s use of our depot at the St Andrews Council Offices and with securing police permission for the memorable projections during our 10th festival in 2007. He was also extremely assiduous in making personal connections with people attending the festival, especially those from overseas. His representation of StAnza in this way will, in particular, be sorely missed.  In short, John was one of those people who gave more than they receive, and always with enthusiasm and commitment. All of us involved in StAnza have been privileged to know him.

Brian Johnstone
Festival Director