He was a committed Trade Unionist throughout his working life, representing fellow print workers for over 30 years including being Father of the Chapel
at Cambridge University Press from 1980 to 2013.
As he explained, I was the fourth generation - he was his shop steward in the factories where he worked for nearly 40 years, his dad had done the same as the Father of the Chapel
at Hansard in London, and my mum was her union rep, too.
Bernie was father of the chapel
at the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades (SOGAT) at Collins the publishers in Glasgow and Moira was a teacher in the EIS.
He was the overseer of the reel stores, and also acted as the branch secretary of the National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants and the Imperial Father of the Chapel
John, originally from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was Father of the Chapel
with the printworkers' union at the Post and sister papers Evening Mail and Sports Argus until he retired almost 20 years ago.
Different unions and different professions have called their reps by different names like 'shop steward' and 'mother or father of the chapel
' over time.
John senior was referred to as "father of the chapel
" - a union official - and John junior was a lino-type operator.
As father of the chapel
(plant union representative) I was absolutely ripped apart.
Meic Birtwistle, joint father of the chapel
(union official) for the National Union of Journalists, said it was 'shocking news'.
It made The Stud - a most resilient Father of the Chapel
- feel very much at home.
He is currently Imperial Father of the Chapel
of the GPMU printers union, as he works for printing firm Field Packaging in Bradford and has been in the industry for many years.
Coleridge also seems to think that union bosses are always called the father of the chapel
. This is certainly true in the world of journalism and printing, where he earns his living, but I suspect car factories usually have shop stewards and convenors.