After his passing on 21st March our dear friend and comrade Tony Carter will be laid to rest tomorrow. Below is a tribute to him by Ian Beeby on behalf of the Cambridge & District Trades Council. We have also created a page on our website to pay tribute to Tony which you can view here https://cambstuc.org/in-memory-of-tony-carter/ – if you would like to add to this including any photos you may have of Tony please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly add them.
Our love , best wishes and Solidarity go to Sylvia & all his family in this difficult time.
I first met Tony back in the early 80’s, yes about 40 years ago. It was a meeting of the Trade Council, but back then we used to meet in Alex Wood Hall. In those days members would read or fiddle with newspapers like the guardian instead of their mobiles. There were at least 30 members present. Even then I remember Tony raising his hand and getting up to speak for several minutes about various issues all which escape me now. As a new member and only dealing with agriculture most of it went over my head as it was more about “City” issues and therefore had little relevance to me.
I then re-joined the Trade Council about 20 years ago when we used to meet at the USSC. Again, Tony was there but this time with Sylvia. Tony was still doing his speeches, but these now made a lot more sense to me. I do recall him speaking several times about “academies” and how he was the only one at St Bede’s school on the Board to oppose academies. The Board then started a campaign to get Tony removed as the Council rep, which I recall was the reason why Tony was on the Board of Governors.
Through the years as I got more involved with the Trade Council, I got to know Tony & Sylvia a lot better. After attending meetings together, he would inform me of things he had done in the past. Frequently on returning from SERTUC as we were walking past a fire station, he would tell me about, after a SERTUC meeting, he came across the Firemen taking industrial action and then joined and stayed on their picket for some considerable time. On the way back from the County Association meetings held in Peterborough, for which he had been a delegate and Chair for over 30 years, as we approached the traffic lights at Milton Sylvia and I would say “ what idiot bought a job lot of traffic lights, probably on the cheap, and put them up at such daft places just to get rid of them?”. Afterwards over a “juice” and socialising I would then discuss many different issues with them like their holidays and family and general chit chat.
Tony ended up in Barton Branch, part of Unite where he served as a very outspoken member who would always let everyone else know his views and opinions on every topic. For the record Tony was a Unite, or as he would often say, T & G member for 53 years. He was an active shop steward in the dairy industry and a member of the Dairy National Negotiating Committee. He also sat on SERTUC and its EXEC for many years. As a City and County Councillor he is most remembered for the cycle bridge that is named after him and the then County Transport and Highways chief (Brian Oldridge).
Tony could be relied on for not only attending and being a banner carrier for the many rallies and disputes around the County and Country but was keen to engage with the public and others about the reason we were marching or demonstrating putting his points politely but with conviction.
Finally, on behalf of the T & G, Unite, the Trade Council and County we send Sylvia and family our deepest sympathies and best wishes for the future, and thanks for sharing her husband with us.