Daniel Lynch

3rd February 2012 at 00:00
A Justice of the Peace, union activist and engineering expert who led lecturers and students to success

Former college lecturer Daniel Lynch, who served as a Justice of the Peace for more than 30 years, has died of cancer at his home in Dumbarton, aged 88.

He left St Patrick's High at 15 to take up an apprenticeship as a marine engineer in William Denny and Sons' shipyard in the town. It was his burning ambition to go to sea.

But only a year later, at the age of 16, he lost his arm in an accident at work when he was dragged by his clothing into an unguarded machine.

The compensation Mr Lynch received was minimal but Sir Maurice Denny took a special interest in his case and helped him to embark on an alternative career - as a draughtsman in the firm's engine works at Artizan, on the banks of the River Leven.

He studied at night school, achieving a degree in marine and mechanical engineering from the Royal Technical College, now Strathclyde University.

He went on to become a lecturer at the Lennox College in Dumbarton and would reminisce about its traditional staffroom with the coal fire, the big comfortable easy chairs and teaching young engineers and shipbuilders during the halcyon days of full employment on the Clyde.

On transferring to the then new Clydebank College, he quickly rose to prominence in a number of capacities: EIS trade union activist, senior lecturer in engineering, organiser of social events and a thorn in the management's flesh with his ongoing desire to improve all things for staff and students.

Mr Lynch was always supportive of nervous, inexperienced, new young lecturers and guided thousands of students into successful careers.

He took an active interest in politics, religion and the law and was a member of the Labour Party for 70 years. He was made a Justice of the Peace, sitting on the bench of the busy District Court of Dumbarton and Vale of Leven for more than 30 years.

He was made a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers before he retired from his college work at 64 to look after his wife, Elizabeth, when she was terminally ill with cancer.

He became chairman of Dumbarton Constituency Labour Party and his voluntary work included the St Vincent de Paul Society; Home from Home in Dumbarton; Dumbarton Churches Together; the School Parent Teacher Council; and Remap.

His leisure interests included fishing, travel and cycling with his late friend, Findlay Thomson, around Europe on a tandem.

He was an expert on the Irish in Scotland, loved poetry and was an accomplished artist. His own portrait was painted by the Scottish author and artist Alasdair Gray.

Despite having one arm, he was a keen tennis and table tennis player and angler.

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