Siol nan Gaidheal
It is with the greatest regret that we record the death of Jackie Stokes, of a heart attack, on the morning of 24th July 2001, aged 50 years. Jackie was an inspiration to Scottish nationalists everywhere. His drive, vision and passion for Scotland were unmatched in the present era, and he will be remembered by all of us as a good and true friend. Those of us who were privileged to work with him over the years have lost not only a friend but an inspiration.
Jackie Stokes founded the resurgent Siol nan Gaidheal Mark 2 in 1988, following the demise of the first manifestation after its illegal proscription in 1982. Under his leadership as National Organiser, this organisation became huge, with branches all over Scotland and elsewhere. Few nationalists privileged enough to see it will forget the sight of the Colour Party marching to Bannockburn, banners waving as the pipes and drums played. Many campaigns were carried out successfully, and the organisation was becoming a thorn in the side of the plastic nationalists when in 1992, Jackie suffered a series of 4 heart attacks at least in part because of the strain of running this huge organisation almost single-handedly. Attempts were made to keep SnG going, but petered out as few had the same commitment as Jackie did.
In the New Year of 1997, a third manifestation rose from the glowing ashes of the old. Many lessons had been learned, and this time the hard core was tighter. The NEC retained full control of all aspects, and many new projects were commenced, including the web site and forum - spreading the word in the technological age. Much of this was delegated in an attempt to avoid further strain on him, but Jackie played an enthusiastic part as National Organiser yet again. Just over a year ago, Jackie resigned as National Organiser, but remained an inspirational member of Siol nan Gaidheal, in actual fact playing a major role in the running of the computer group (though his early attempts led to several computers becoming damaged, particularly the keyboard!), and monitoring the forum. His initiatives continued with the expansion to the Diaspora, and the setting up of chapters in the United States and Canada. His health remained a concern, but he appeared to be more relaxed after giving up the full time running of the organisation, and it came as a shock to us all when we heard the sad news of his untimely death. His loss is a sad one, for his family, his friends, and the nationalist community.
We can think of no more appropriate quote just now than one received from one of the membership when informed of his death:
'I hear the keening of the women in the Gleann, for a great warrior has fallen!'
(Somerled, Lord of the Isles).
This short piece will remain only for as long as it takes us to put together a fitting tribute to our friend and mentor, which will be published here as soon as possible.
Siol nan Gaidheal National Executive Committee. 1st August 2001
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