Last week we passed on the sad news of the death of Bob Woods, former Barnardo’s colleague and lifelong trade union and LGBT+ activist.
Bob was not only a highly respected social worker but devoted many hours of his own time to causes close to his heart, including promoting respect for difference at St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.
He fostered young people through the Albert Kennedy Trust and is survived by his adopted trans daughter Adele.
He was former Branch Secretary of the Barnardo’s branch of UNISON, a stalwart of the Labour Party and fierce Remainer. This year he was awarded the Lily Summers Prize by Welsh Labour in recognition of his lifelong dedication to LGBT+ causes. He was also on the Wales Online Pinc list which pays tribute to the 50 most influential LGBT+ people in Wales. Bob was also active in UNISON National LGBT+ self-organisation and the Greater London UNISON region and mentored many new members. He also worked tirelessly for the National Work Stress Network and was often seen staffing their stall at many trade union conferences following his retirement. In recent years, he was UNISON Barnardo’s Retired Member’s Officer and had attended a number of National UNISON Retired Members Conferences.
In his last weeks he was determined to attend the Pride celebrations in Cardiff and did so in a rainbow festooned wheelchair accompanied by family and friends.
He was an inspirational role model for young people, giving them the confidence to be frank about their sexuality and the confidence to talk about it in public and amongst their friends and family.
His support for Just A Game? helped break down homophobic behaviour on the pitch.
Louise Phelan, Admin Manager and UNISON Barnardo’s Branch Convenor for Wales, said: “He was a great character; passionate about LGBT+ and equality issues in general and very political but I’ll remember him most for his wicked sense of humour and his sense of justice and fair play.”
Current UNISON Barnardo’s Branch Secretary, Karen Rickards, said Bob was responsible for orchestrating the Recognition Agreement and even in retirement worked on the committee to ensure the rights of Barnardo’s workers were maintained and upheld.
“During his retirement he was still immensely active, working voluntarily with a number of national organisations and he inspired many people to become active with his endless enthusiasm. He was a big character, with an even bigger heart,” she said.
Bob passed away peacefully on Friday, 20th September. A funeral service will be held at 11am on Tuesday, 8th October at Wenallt Chapel, Thornhill Crematorium, Cardiff followed by refreshments at noon at Canton Liberal Club, Canton Cardiff.
Men are asked to wear a pink, blue or black tie and women are requested to wear Bob’s favourite colours of blue or pink.