Mary Turner: New biography celebrates life and achievements of Kilburn’s inspirational GMB union leader
PUBLISHED: 11:16 14 June 2019
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Kilburn’s inspirational union president is to be remembered in a new biography celebrating her life and achievements.
Mary Turner was a committed activist and campaigner and former president of the GMB Union who died in 2017.
Our Mary, written by GMB member and former union employee John Callow, is being launched at the GMB's annual congress in Brighton this week.
The book was commissioned by London Region GMB who financed the biography through donations from members.
Mary's granddaughter Lisa Folwell said: "The family feel proud and honoured that so many people will now be able to read and capture Mary's life, her pathway and her achievements.
"Mary's memory will live on through generations for years to come.
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"We are all grateful to everyone who helped and contributed to get the book generated and published. A sincere thank you to both Warren Kenny for putting the plans in motion and John Callow for all the hard work that was put into the book.
"It tells a true story of a working-class hero with so much determination who, without doubt, was one of a kind."
The book tells the story of Mary's life and her instrumental role in the survival of the GMB as an independent union, and its unprecedented growth in membership after 2005.
The pages also chart the recent history of the British labour movement from the people's marches for jobs in 1981 and 1983 through to the rise of multinational corporations and the scourge of austerity.
"Mary - though fiercely proud of her Irish heritage - was a Londoner through and through," said Mr Callow.
"She was the stuff of legend, of a thousand stories - some tough to hear, some sorrowful, some triumphant, some downright comical - but all informed by Mary's principled fight against injustice and for the rights of working people."
Warren Kenny, GMB's London regional secretary, added: "Those who knew Mary should never forget what a truly inspirational womean she was and how she fought passionately for those less fortunate, where their voices were not being listened to.
"By producing this book, we can proudly say we've most certainly ensured Mary's story lives on and will do so forever more."
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