The death of Jackie Stokes - 24/7/01
It is with the greatest regret that I have to announce the death of Member G, known to all his friends as Jackie Stokes, of a heart attack yesterday morning. The former National Organiser of Siol nan Gaidheal Marks 2 and 3, Jackie was at the forefront of the nationalist scene for many years. His drive, vision and passion were an example to all who truly believe in Scotland's freedom, and he will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him. Please think of his family at this distressing time.
Forum entries :
I would like to extend my sympathies to the family of Jackie Stokes. I only met Jackie Stokes once - where he made the effort to meet me personally. We had a great evening where he discussed the history of the group and answered my questions and accomodated my inquisitive nature in a humble way not projecting himself as the political careerists we see today in the puppet Parliament and westminster ....a man that was for the nationalist cause 100% so that Scots and their families and their families' families could live in a Scotland that is free.
Encouraging me to put my views forward when I felt my youth and inexperience in the various political debates would be somewhat out of place.
I called him Mr Stokes but he was adamant that he was referred to as Jackie.......
Thank you for your time Jackie,
very sorry to hear this sombre news.. my thoughts are with his family at this time...God Bless and keep them.
From Act Now
I too would like to extend my commiserations to Jackie's friends and family. I was deeply shocked to read of his death. I always found him an inspirational figure of boundless energy.
Just a few words on the man it was my privilege to know for too brief a time. Jackie told me that in the Glasgow he grew up in to survive you had to be able to either run or fight, he was a very poor runner. It's almost impossible to imagine Jackie running from anything. He was a generous and valued friend, a devoted family man and a tireless Scottish Ultra-Nationalist. My thoughts and prayers yesterday and today rest with his family. The ground work for the future of Siol nan Gaidheal has been laid out and the mantle passed on. As much as there are those who would like to see us all in widows weeds this is only the end of the beginning for SnG. Get tae fuck to work!
I think I understand what you are saying here my Canadian friend, we have all lost a good and dear friend but I don't believe that Jackie would want us to sit around greiving for him. He literaly gave of himself so much to this cause that the stress finally caught up with him. Jackie has done much to forward his dream of an independent Scotland and to unite the Scottish diaspora in this, he has put into place SnG-USA and SnG-Canada with a view to the future. It is up to us now to carry on his work and his dream to unite the Scots of the world, it would be to his sorrow if we let him down. Jackie will be missed but never forgotten, his passing saddens me to no end, he is, and forever will be my friend. let us continue on while we are here, as I have said to Jackie, we never know when the pipes will call us home! And when next we meet I can say to him that your dream lives on!
Alba Gu Brath!
From Donald Anderson
Yes. I was lucky to have Jackie by my side when the John MacLean Society was physically attacked in the old Star Club. As far as I know the "hard men" are still running yet.
From Mac an tSaoir
I would like to extend my sympathy to Jackies family and friends. I only spoke to Jackie on a few occasions, but when I did I always found him to be friendly and deeply dedicated to his country.
Rest in peace, Jackie. I would like to thank Jackie who took the time to personally email me, as a member of the diaspora, and welcome me back into the family. And regale me with some good stories. My best wishes and condolences to Jackie's family. And to him, I know you're in a better place.
From Celtic Nations
Saddened to hear of the untimely passing away of Jackie. Our hearts go out to Jackie's family at this very sad time. Jackie was a friend and an inspiration and will be sorely missed. Risnidh and Louise
Priority Independence would add their condolences to the family of the late Jackie Stokes. Members met with him on several occasions, both when he was SnG National Organiser and in a social capacity, and found him a good friend and true nationalist. He will be sadly missed.
IN MEMORIAM JACKIE STOKES.
Mo Chairdean nan siol nan gaidheal. These are difficult words to write about a person who was both Friend and mentor. I only met Jackie the once, at Arbroath Abbey in May with another member of Siol-nan-Gaidheal. There we talked and reminisced about Nationalism, Scots History and future strategy for Independence. I knew I was in the presence of someone special, someone who had dedicated his life to one single goal, the Freedom of our Nation - Scotland! His sole reason for living, was working towards that goal and his commitment to Siol nan Gaidheal was total, making our association the effective voice for all Scottish Nationalists everywhere.
Jackie's vision was all encompassing, He saw clearly the vital role that the Diaspora will play in our independence movement. He knew better than anyone, the need to get our Blood brethren, our Kinsmen, scattered throughout the U.S.A. Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to support us in the struggle. Last week he wrote a long letter to me on this very subject and his wisdom and Logic for such an inclusive policy are overwhelmingly compelling. Jackie also commanded total respect and admiration from his friends and quite often his enemies. I was speaking to a senior SNP activist last night, when he broached the subject, asking what we would do. I told him that Siol nan Gaidheal was greater than Jackie or of any single member of it and that we would still be a burr under the SNP's saddle until they came into line with the whole Nationalist movement. He surprised me by saying, that if the SNP had had twenty Jackie Stokes's, then we would have been independent years ago. That was a great compliment indeed.
Finally, we have a fitting memorial to Jackie in this Forum and website. It was his brainchild and he saw it as a vehicle to carry the Nationalist message to a wider audience of Scots. Out of respect to his memory, we have a bounden duty to continue this great labour of love and to ensure the purity and brightness of the Message is undimmed and uncompromised. I will take my leave now with a message to Jackie's family, That we all share your grief, your pain, and sense of loss. Scotland has lost one of its best people and Jackie will be very difficult to replace.
'I hear the keening of the women in the Gleann, for a great warrior has fallen!'
(Somerled Lord of the Isles).
In deepest respect.
From Jim C.
Our sincere condolences to the Stokes family and SnG from Ontario, Canada. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting Jackie personally but have communicated with him on several occasions. Always with a strong and positive outlook towards Scottish independence and a mainstay in SnG who will be surely missed. Regroup there is no doubt for a stronger and ever determined goal.
May I take a little space to say how absolutely shocked I was to switch on the Forum 10 minutes ago and have the first thing that hit me the news that Jackie Stokes had died. I heartily concur with all the tributes to him I've been reading. He had time to encourage me too, giving my hopefully helpful ideas a fair hearing and promising them an honest appraisal and incorporation into Siol's work if appropriate. Not even Jackie knew how much that meant to me. I was just going to write to him again. The last time I saw him, as he drove me to the nearest railway station after a one-to-one meeting, he mentioned the severe medical problems he'd had, which had left their mark. He said he was taking it easier, but I remember wishing that, with that history, he hadn't continued to smoke so much. But it must have been something that he needed. I remember thinking, too, "Nothing's worth your life, Jackie." But Jackie may well be a man who quite literally gave his life for the cause. He should never be forgotten, as I'm sure he won't be forgotten by the many who benefitted from knowing him, and we should think of some permanent memorial to him.
May I add my sympathies to his family as I know they will have all the support they need, at this sad time for everybody, from Siol.
From Scottish Resistance
Words can't state how much of a loss Jackie is. We send all our condolences to the family and friends of Jackie. There have been few patriots in our country to match him, he'll be much missed.
I have been out of town and incommunicado for the last six days and only today learned of the unfortunate end of Jackie Stokes. My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family and associates of Mr. Stokes. I was priveleged to have a few private communications with him and felt that the foundation of a strong friendship was set. I am sorry that I will not be able to meet him in person as I was planning to do. Again, my deepest sympathies to the family.
An excellent piece of writing Niall. We had met with Jackie on several occasions, and found him an erudite companion, with a comprehensive knowledge of the past and current Scottish political scene. He could express his ideas well, and was an expert in what was termed the 'art of swearie'! This came to the fore whenever Unionist policies came under discussion, and in full flow of invective he could be an impressive sight and sound! Our memories of Jackie will always be of a true patriot, and a bloody decent human being. Sleep well, old friend.
We would also take this opportunity to express our heart-felt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
From Bobby Doc
Aye he'll be missed alright, the crack on here was fine when he got into full flow, Ive enjoyed many of his answers to the dickheads who came on here trying to show off, he was pretty quick in putting them in their place. A sad day for Scotland, but I hope that SnG will continue to progress, put this loss behind them and carry on as he'd have wanted them to. Whether such a charismatic guy can ever be really replaced is in question, whats not in question is the need to push on and keep grinding the Unionists faces in the facts, spread the word and hope that some of the sheep will start to listen to the truth.
From SnG Canada member
I don't think we will ever replace Jackie nor I suspect do we wish to (I know you were being rhetorical Bobby). A lot of what Siol nan Gaidheal accomplished over the years is the result of work done by the existing membership and that brilliance and energy is with us still. No, you won't see a great difference in SnG.
That said, Jackie Stokes gave life to Siol nan Gaidheal. His vision of the organisation as the clear concience of Scottish patriotism, the unyeilding, uncompromising and uncorruptable force for an Independent Scotland will always be held dear to every member, friend and supporter. A free Scotland will only be brought about by the living.
(In our hearts there will always be an empty seat at the table for Jackie.)
From SnG USA
SnG Members, Fellow Scots,
Having just arrived home to learn of the very sad news of Jackie Stokes' crossing over, I am moved by the wonderful words which have been expressed. I know that there is not much that I could add, save for the fact that we will certainly not be able to forget all that he has done. Jackie was one of those individuals who come by every now and then to get the rest of us headed in the right direction. I am terribly glad that I have saved all of the messages which he sent my way, full of his insults and threats, always put across as a true friend, but as a friend who was not sugar-coating his suggestions, or understating his intentions. Those messages would have me almost falling off the chair with laughter. Not everyone in this world could get away with calling me a stubborn, mean old Yankee and many names which should ordinarily be censored, and make me love it all! He did whatever he needed to do to get us moving. Most of all, I do not think that I have ever known another man who so firmly believed in Scotland as a great, sovereign and FREE nation! SnG Canada pretty well summed it up. We have his vitality in SnG. Our greatest tribute to him will be to carry on towards the fulfillment of his wonderful vision. Just think! Last week we were all trying to come up with the biographies of great Scots! I reckon that we'd better get a biography of Jackie and get it into our ROLL of HONOUR .
From Martin S.
I too have been out of town for the past week and am deeply saddened at this news. I will never forget my first meeting with Jackie Stokes - I was roundly abused, mocked and put on the spot for an entire evening in front of fellow SnG members who were in stitches - a tradition that was to continue for many more meetings! His wit and sense of humour were an inspiration to many, as well as his undying committment to the cause. His leadership skills and the ability to make sure that work, articles and projects were done was envious. This is not the end of Siol nan Gaidheal and we will fight on until our vision and those of millions of patriots in our country and abroad is realised. Moran taing Jackie. Thig ar Latha!
Just heard the sad news about Jackie Stokes. I feel honoured to have known him, and saddened that I'll not get a chance to talk to him again. I wish I knew what to say mate, I'll miss your scary stories. A Good man, honest and true to his word.
From Cal Lippit
He touched many lives, including mine.
I've been sitting here the last few days feeling stunned. I had just made a post on this forum hoping to see a response from him about what I had posted, and suddenly I hear of his death. When I began to learn what being Scottish really means, he was one of the first to welcome me and offer advice and encouragement.
And, he provided an intellectual challenge. He criticized me too, sometimes pointing out that my knowledge of a matter might not have as much depth as it should. But, his criticism was done in a way that made me want to learn more.
His own depth of knowledge seemed phenomenal. I recall once comparing a situation in an election campaign with a similar situation that happened in the US almost two decades ago, and I was surprised to find how well-informed he was of that situation. Mind you, that was considered local politics in a state that has fewer people than the suburban community I live in now.
I'm sure I am not the only one who thought of him as a mentor.
He would have been among the most deserving to see independence come to be.
Mo chairdean choir nan Siol nan Gaidheal.
I have twice only attended the funerals of people whom I regard as outstanding Scottish Nationalists. My own Seanair(Grandfather) Tamhas Dearg and that of our late chairaid Jackie. Each one in their turn made an impact on my life and there are parallels here which tell us much about the characters of these two Patriots, though one came from the gaidhealtagh and the other from Glasgow, the same love of their country shone through them both and blessed greatly the lives of all they touched. So please bear with this emotional old Gael as he relates Jackie's Funeral to you, followed with flashbacks to a time 50 Years ago.
Tuesday 31st July 2001, the Place Mortonhall Park Crematorium, Edinburgh. It is a warm sunny day as the many Friends and the family of Jackie started to gather together. The great Oak, beech, chestnut and lime Trees absorbed the noise of the busy roads and endless traffic outside the Park, creating a haven of peace and tranquillity. A Family of Grey squirrels played hide and seek, in the branches of an Oak tree that was probably planted a few years after the 45. Songbirds whistled and sang in the shrubbery and a Mavis (Songthrush) warbled its beautiful liquid song from the branches of a cherry tree. Old Friends greeted one another quietly and sombrely as I was introduced to people who until then had only been names on the Internet. Martin S....Act Now....
At 10 minutes to One, the Cortege of Hearse and two limousines drove slowly up to the Chapel door and we then walked over to the Chapel to take our seats inside. About 89 People file inside, the Chapel is light, bright and airy with the warm polished beech wood of the Pews shining in the reflected rays of sunshine coming in through the small windows.
Then, borne on the shoulders of family and friends, Jackie made his final entrance in a bonnie polished Oak casket, covered with the Saltire, its Blue and white making a brave show. Following the Casket, were borne the Siol-nan-Gaidheal and Saltire wreaths and a young Laddie playing a lament on the pipes. Aye he played it right bonnily and I caught a tear rolling down my cheek and trickling into my beard. There was hardly a dry e'en in the place. The Priest introduced himself and asked Dr Buchan, Jackie's doctor to speak first and Dr Buchan mentioned some of the very special things that Jackie had done for the less fortunate in this life and how much Jackie lived for his Family. Then John Barnett spoke in like vein for several minutes, stressing Jackie's innate sense of humour and love of his family and friends, of Siol-nan-Gaidheal his special child, his love for his country and finally quoted an e-mail message from the forum. After that, the title theme music from 'Braveheart' was played. The Priest then conducted several prayers after the Catholic fashion and then finally a track from Runrig's Record 'Recovery' 'An Toll Dubh' (The Black Hole) A foot stamping Gaelic song once sung by the Galley rowers of ClanRanald as they propelled their 40 oared swift Galleys across the island seas. Och! Jackie what a way to make your final exit, a positive and superb affirmation of your Celtic roots. I came to say a final 'beannadh Dhe Leat' (May the blessing of God attend you) and you left us with a blessing in return. We all filed out of the Chapel to be greeted by Jackie's Family, Anne, Kevin, Kimberly and Jacqueline for a final hug and a thank you.
On the road to Livingstone, I reflected on Jackie's Funeral and that of my Grandfather, they could not have been more different. My grandfather was buried in November 1950 after the Island fashion, the weather was bad, Cold with a northwest wind blowing 'Smirr' (Small minute raindrops that saturate you quickly) Thomas dearg (Red Thomas on account of his hair) had lost a lung due to a gas attack on the Somme in W.W.I and he had caught a bad cold, pulling a stirk out of a stream. The Cold turned into Double Pneumonia and after three days his frail body just gave up the uneven struggle. His Body lay in a casket on the Table and all the relations and neighbours came round for the wake as was the custom, the womenfolk to offer sympathy and drink tea, and the menfolk to drink what was left of my Seanair's Poit Dubh and got merry as was my seanair's last wish to my Grandmother. On the day of the Funeral, I was dressed in Kilt and black hose, with my macintosh raincoat and a black bonnet. I was the only male descendent of my Grandfather as my uncles had all died in the war, so I had to follow the cortege with my aunts man and the wee free Minister. Our nearest neighbours carried my Seanairs Coffin outside and when they had settled it on their shoulders, my Mother sang that most haunting of all gaeldoms laments 'Aignish'
'An Ciaradh m'fheasgair's mo beath air cliodh,
mo rosg air dunadh's a bhla gun chli.
Stiuir curs an iar leam gu eilean ciatach,
gu aignish sgamhach far an d' draich mi.
(When day is over and life is done
mine eyes have closed, and my strength is gone.
O Westwards take me and quietly lay me,
in Aignish graveyard beside the sea)
The Minister looked uncomfortable at such blatant Gaidhlig sentiment and I glared at him, defying him to make any remark, and we started of on my Seanair's last journey through the township. I Looked at the whitewashed walls of the Byre, I had helped him to whiten the walls just bare weeks ago, the fresh green painted door and windows. The neat Drystane dykes bordering the fields, built with so much hard labour. A fragment of conversation came back to me, my Grandfather explaining how important it was that all the stones fitted comfortably together so that they took strength from each other. And then I remember Jackie at Arbroath Abbey telling me how important it was that each member of Siol nan Gaidheal should fit carefully into the whole pattern, so alike the pair of them in the care and attention to detail. My Seanair would never permit Barbed wire fences on his land, 'Reminds me of the wire on the front lines and the tattered remains of my friends hanging from it!' as we wended down the road I could hear my Mother sing the second verse.
'An sin gun cairich sibh mi' san fhod
A Measga mo chairdean 'smo shinnsrean coir
Ri tonnan barr-gheal a' bhuladh traghad
sri machair aignish nan laoigh's nam bo'
(There, please leave me by kith and kin,
by Parents kindly and all my friends.
By white waves pounding on beaches sounding,
on Aignish graveyard beside the sea.)
The Minister gave a prodigious sniff, but I let it Pass. As we came abreast the next croft, our neighbours stood outside and removed their caps, I remembered my Grandmothers admonition, lift your bonnet to thank them for their respect, then clap it back on your head, so that they can do the same. We slowly went our way through the township, picking up a long train of menfolk (Women never attended funerals) until finally we arrived at the walled graveyard with the three Beech trees. A gust of wind from Carn Dearg bheag brought a flurry of heavier rain and so we made ready to inter my seanair. Eight of us lowered him into the ground and then it was my turn to say a few words after throwing in a handful of earth, 'Beannachd Dhe' Leat, Seanair!' Then Roddy threw in a handful, 'Well, tamhas, the factor'l no be bothering you ever again!' Another muttered 'And neither will Sleat!' Then 'Calum an Piob' Played the Piobriochaird 'Lament for the Children' walking round the grave three times, following the direction of the sun. When he finished playing I gave him a dram from the hipflask my Grandmother had given me for that very purpose. Then the Minister preached a short sermon and said the final prayers, and finally I made my way along the ranks of my Seanairs friends, shaking their hands and thanking them for coming. At the end of the line were three of Grandfathers special friends, ex soldiers who had served with him and had been badly wounded. Iain extended his artificial arm with the steel hook and I carefully shook it. Then alasdair dubh who had lost his lower jaw and tongue and could not speak shook my hand and Calum Dall (Blind Malcolm) who reached down and gave me a hug 'From your seanair. he asked me to.' I came back to the present, and reflected how alike were Jackie and my Seanair. Both Patriots who loved their country dearly. Who valued it's music and culture and who encouraged others to think and do likewise. My Seanair used to talk of the Gaels 'Hall of the Heroes' and I had a mental picture of Jackie and Tamhas quaffing Poit dubh and trying to beat each other at arm wrestling. No two people I have personally known in modern times have ever deserved entrance to the 'Hall of Heroes' more than these two. May they both Rest in Peace. 'Requiescat in Pace'
My Reverie was interrupted as we arrived at Jackie's House. Many of the mourners had turned up for the traditional tea or coffee and sandwiches or sausage rolls and it was painful to see the walls where jackie had stripped off the wallpaper, prior to redecorating, a job that ultimately he was never going to finish. Jackie had built up our Organisation Siol-nan-Gaidheal for one purpose, to unify all nationalists in the goal of independence and we can give Jackie the finest memorial of them all, a day when we nationalists raise the saltire above THE INDEPENDENT NATION OF SCOTLAND.
As my Seanair would say 'SAOIR ALBA!'
From Chuck Hamilton
I must apologize for not expressing earlier my condolences to everyone on the death of Jackie Stokes. It was quite a shock to me, particularly since I had not known of his early bout with heart trouble. I "met", if you will, Jackie when I posted to the SnG forum sometime over a year ago, and exchanged several emails with him. I came to know him as a very dedicated republican and a helpful proponent of his cause, and never saw in him any sign of the blind bigotry so often found among people at his level in such situations, which impressed me a great deal. Knowing everything he gave to our movement, I realize a large gap now exists in our shield wall which may be difficult to fill. Not being able to attend any function in his honour in Scotland, I wore my belted kilt to Mass last Sunday in him memory, with a white carnation over my heart and a black armband on my left. As I had to read (finding out after I arrived) a rather lengthy and appropriately bleak and depressing passage from Ecclesiastes, it gave me opportunity later to tell many people of his passing. The dead had better beware: another Celtic warrior sleeps beneath the shroud of the foggy dew.
I just found out about Jackie's death today, after a long period of illness during which I was unable to access the web. I am shocked and saddened for those of us who remain in this world, but not for Jackie. For him, the days of struggle are over. He sleeps the sleep of warriors, in Valhalla. The rest of us are left feeling sadly inadequate at the passing of a great patriot. If we ever do anything for our country, it will be because we are standing on the shoulders of men like Jackie Stokes.
Rest in peace, brother.
From Dave Cumming
It deeply saddened me to read of the passing of Jackie Stokes, yet another true patriot lost to the cause the greatest memorial we can erect to Jackie is to continue his work, strengthen the Siol nan Gaidheal and work together to achieve his and our lives' ambition a FREE SCOTLAND! Like Wallace, Jackie's spirit will live on in the hearts and minds of the Scottish patriots throughout our struggle for National Liberation. Goodbye Jackie thank you for boosting my commitment to Independence and my sincerest condolences to your family.
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