Alan Lamont: an appreciation

9th August 1996 at 01:00
Alan Lamont, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and recognised master of the minutiae of pay, conditions and pensions, has died aged 56. He had been ill for some time and recently announced his retirement.

His grasp of the detail of financial negotiations affecting members was enhanced by his training in mathematics which he taught before joining the SSTA in a full-time capacity in 1981, becoming general secretary in 1994.

Alan Lamont was educated at Glasgow Academy and Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, where his father was headteacher of Bridge of Don Academy. A graduate of Aberdeen University, he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and served in Germany until he decided to undertake teacher training in 1964.

From Ellon Academy he went to Glasgow Academy and then to Dunblane High before becoming in 1975 the first principal teacher of mathematics at Alness Academy.

An active member of the SSTA in Highland Region, he was national vice-president when he was appointed assistant general secretary at the office in Edinburgh. He became an expert on salaries and on superannuation, an area where his expertise was in demand at a UK as well as Scottish level. He was instrumental in introducing pre-retirement courses of benefit to many SSTA members.

Away from the pressures of serving more than 7,000 union members from a small office, Alan Lamont enjoyed leisure pursuits ranging from hillwalking, opera and French holidays to gardening and golf. With the last of these, he has left a permanent memorial since he was among the most active of a group of players who devised and laid out the new course at Niddry Castle club, Winchburgh.

* Alistair Fulton, a retired classics teacher and former president of the SSTA, writes: If the world had run with the precision of Latin, the elegance of Greek, the logic of mathematics and the formality of a mess dinner, Alan would have been a contented man. As it was, he had to deal with the congenitally verbose (like me), the determinedly obtuse (pick a name) and the murmuring of innumerable others. And deal with them he did, with patience, fortitude and a tireless willingness to serve.

I was one of a group of youngish Turks who persuaded him to uproot his family from the Highlands and move south, away from the classroom where he excelled. He was reluctant, as befitted a modest man, but he was the man for the job, and his rise to the general secretaryship amply justified our choice.

Alan leaves behind fond memories and a fine legacy. Our thoughts are with his wife, Alison, and sons Dougal and Lachlan.

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