The Home Office group became a little less colourful on 30 August when Chris Kelly finally decided to retire.
Chris was most recently based in Operation Nexus in Croydon but many of you will know him from his time at Heathrow Terminal 3, Waterloo and Becket House.
Chris quickly established himself as one of our leading reps following the adoption of our regional branch structure in the early 2000s.
He led for the GEC on casework (subsequently UKVI) and built a formidable branch at Becket along with Graeme Johnson and James Cox. I came to know Chris as a colleague during our time together at Waterloo. I really had no inkling at that point that he was a committed socialist and trade unionist. However, when Waterloo was unceremoniously closed, people like Alan Shaw and i were looking for a new home. We therefore decided to follow Chris’s example and get active in PCS.
I know Chris influenced many others to become involved as well. I think it’s fair to say Chris has a unique sense of humour. In fact, I think it’s fair to say Chris is unique.
Friends, comrades and colleagues have marvelled at his creative use of the English language over the years. Many a serious meeting has found folk collapsing with laughter after Chris has said his piece. Ultimately though, Chris will be known as a tough negotiator who always gave everything for the cause.
Chris will now look forward to spending more time with his stamp collection, his piles of obscure books and his travels around Civil War Spain. Front Line sends its very best wishes.