By Rob Munn
For a whole generation and more of SNP activists the name Allison Hunter has a huge resonance. She was a inspiring and dedicated National Organiser for the Scottish National Party and news of her death will have touched SNP members past and present the length and breadth and indeed furth of Scotland.
I first met Allison when she was election agent for Jim Sillars in the historic Govan By-Election of 1988. She shot to prominence due to the outstanding organisational success of that campaign. However as a young activist it was the personal touch that Allison had in spades that stays with me. She remembered every activists name and had a task for each and every one.
Not long after that Allison became the party’s National Organiser based in the old SNP HQ at North Charlotte Street and I’m sure like many SNP members in Edinburgh she was a great resource to gain knowledge from. I’m sure she listened to a large number of harebrained theories but always responded with positive comment, gently guiding enthusiasm to more constructive ends. She had a great smile and a twinkle in her eye – she was a hard woman to argue with!
My memory of Allison will always strongly feature the guidance, advice, practical support and humour she afforded me when I was the SNP candidate in the Leith Harbour by election in 1996. It was a long campaign and Allison was on hand every day giving pointers on canvassing, assessing our returns and helping with campaign materials. Her support to me and my election agent Hilary Brown played a huge part in my subsequent victory. Allison was not there the night I won – she was at another Council by election where allegedly our prospects were better! I still remember her joy when I phoned her to tell her I’d won by 45 votes.
Over the years that followed I got to know her better as I carried out roles as Constituency Convener, Vetting Convener and Organiser attending various training sessions led by Allison. She always made herself available, listening carefully to your concerns and setting you on the right course. These were talents that will have served her well when she later became a Glasgow Councillor.
I remember walking into the campaign rooms in the Glasgow East by election and Allison saying, ‘Ah, Rob you’re an experienced canvasser – I’ve a job for you’. I knew I was in for an interesting day. Needless to say with Allison involved as Election Agent we won that one too.
Allison was an inspiration and she will be sorely missed.