I would like to say, firstly, how honoured I am that Anne, Jacqueline, Kim and Kevin should ask me if I would like to say a few words today. And secondly, my regret at the passing of a very cherished and special man, one who has been a major influence, teacher and instructor to me over the years.
But, most of all, a true friend.
Today, and for many years, people all over the world will talk and sing the praises of the outstanding achievements Jackie Stokes has made to Scottish Nationalism. I need not elaborate, as all of us here are aware of this aspect of Jackie's life and works.
I am also sure that there are many present here today who could make an infinitely better job of this than I.
I am here to say a few words about Jackie Stokes, the man. A man we all knew, loved and respected. Father to Jacqueline, Kim and Kevin, and a devoted husband to Anne. Jackie always took great pride in his family and also his home, and saw to it that nobody in the house ever wanted for anything, and had the best of everything.
The week before his passing I spent an afternoon with Jackie. We laughed about old times, talked about life, and swapped stories about zoo trips and our children. Jackie confessed that it always gave him a good feeling when his children - now grown up - would say "We really enjoyed our childhood, we had a great time." I knew he was proud to look back over the years and see how well his daughters and son had turned out.
None of us should ever forget that behind every great man there is always an equally great woman. Anne always backed Jackie to the hilt in everything he did. Her loyalty and devotion were, I know, always appreciated.
Often, when I was younger in years, and I was experiencing girlfriend problems, Jackie would advise me as to the traits I should be looking for, and always used Anne's qualities as an example. I took his advice and now have a good Glasgow girl of my own - and she also backs me up to the hilt.
I myself met Jackie by chance, a chance encounter that changed my life for the better. Jackie was my role model in life. I was privileged to have known him. I spent countless days and nights listening to his stories, learning from his experiences, and gaining wisdom from him. I learned so many things from Jackie over the years.
And if I strayed from the path or found myself getting into trouble, Jackie was always there, and would always offer his support and advice. I have lost count of the number of times Jackie bailed me out of trouble - often without me even knowing it!
Jackie always looked out for me. He was a true friend - a friend that comes along once in a lifetime - if you're lucky. I could never do justice to Jackie, even if I was to talk for a month. Everyone present here has had their own sets of experiences with Jackie. And as I gaze around this room today, I am reminded again of just how influential, respected, and well-connected my friend was.
If, in these few words I have said, I can trigger each of to, in your spare moments, always to remember Jackie, remember what he did for you, I will be happy.
I count myself privileged to have known Jackie Stokes. He was a charismatic and brilliant man. We can all count ourselves privileged.
And now as we are here to say goodbye to him, I will ask you all:
Never to forget this day
And never forget Jackie Stokes.
Who he was
What he believed
And what he achieved.
Thank you all for listening to me.
John Barnett 31 July 2001
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