Obituary: June Morrison MBE, insolvency expert and Conservative activist

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June Margaret Dorothy Morrison MBE, Insolvency manager and Conservative activist. Born 5 October 1940 in Aberdeen. Died 19 August, 2019 in Aberdeen, aged 78

June Morrison’s passion for politics was fostered in the unlikely environment of a children’s home.

Miss Craig, the matron, was a Conservative and each week young June was tasked with collecting her Sunday papers after church. On the way home she would devour as many political articles as she could, stringing out her journey back.

It would be several decades until she became fully involved in the political scene, devoting her energies not only to the Conservative party in Aberdeen, where she chaired constituency associations and ran election campaigns, but also serving nationally on its executive committee – voluntary work that saw her made an MBE for 40 years’ unwavering support.

Although a huge fan of Britain’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, she never wanted to be a politician herself. She was happy being in the backroom and was incredulous on receiving news of the honour – it had been a very long way from Aberdeen’s Ferryhill Children’s Home to Buckingham Palace.

The daughter of chauffeur/gardener James Stephen, her mother Bessie died when she was a toddler and she and her little brother were initially fostered before moving to the children’s home. From there she attended Ferryhill Primary School, successfully passing her 11-plus exam, reportedly becoming the first youngster from the home to go to secondary school.

An academically able youngster, she could have gone to university and had dreamed of becoming a teacher. But at 16 she decided she needed to earn a living and began work as a clerk in Aberdeen Corporation’s registration of voters department. Her future husband, Alan Morrison, joined the authority soon afterwards and they wed in 1963.

The couple began married life in Oxford, where her husband was working for the Inland Revenue, and she soon found a job there too, but they returned to Aberdeen a couple of years later, subsequently moving to the city’s Midstocket area after the birth of their three children.

As the family grew up she worked for Grampian Health Board as a finance department cashier and, in her thirties, she completed an HNC in Business Studies before gaining a BA degree through the Open University in her forties, all the time working full time and juggling life as a mother, student and Guide leader.

She moved into insolvency work with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in 1990 and spent the next 24 years at a variety of other firms, being promoted several times. She loved the work and being able to help others in financial difficulty and did not retire until the age of 74, as senior manager – corporate recovery, with CS Corporate Solutions in Stonehaven.

Meanwhile, she had been working behind the scenes in politics, having joined South Aberdeen Conservative Association in the late 1970s. She became chairman of the association’s Rosemount ward in 1991 – a post she held until her death – and later served as chairman of the Aberdeen Central constituency for the best part of a decade. She also chaired Aberdeen North and, latterly, Aberdeen City Associations.

Nationally, she was Scottish chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum between 1998 and 2004, while also serving on the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party’s executive committee, and for many years she was election agent for the late Aberdeen councillor John Porter. She was also election agent for Ross Thomson when he was a city councillor, then an MSP and currently the MP for Aberdeen South.

He paid emotional tribute to her, saying she had been his agent, friend, mentor and “someone who felt like family”, describing her as a huge loss for the Scottish Tories and the community.

“June was the most loving, caring, decent and dedicated person I know,” he said. “I’ll miss her terribly.”

He also highlighted her loss to the local presbytery. As a teenager at Ferryhill Children’s Home she had been a Sunday School teacher. Later she helped out at Aberdeen’s Beechgrove Church, where she became an elder, serving on its overseas and outreach committees. She was subsequently presbytery elder at Mistocket Church, convenor of the congregational stewardship committee and president and treasurer of its church guild, presenting the annual guild service sermon for several years.

Her energy was unbounded. She had also spent more than 20 years in Guiding, mainly as a guide leader but serving for a time as district commissioner, and had chaired the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s local fundraising committee for several years. Such a full life of volunteering left little time for hobbies but she enjoyed pop music, dancing and holidaying abroad, particularly on cruises.

She is survived by Alan, her husband of 56 years, their sons Stephen and Graham, daughter Diane and daughter-in-law Sally.