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A tribute to Robbie Simpson

Robbie Simpson, long-standing Lib Dem activist, died suddenly in Geneva at the beginning of January. He was 30 years old. To lose such a talent, and such a friend as Robbie, is a tragedy beyond comprehension. To try and summarise his impact is nearly impossible, but I hope this goes some way to remind us all of the wonderful friend we have lost.

I met Robbie at my first meeting of Glasgow University Liberal Democrats in September 2009. He was a very tall, kind looking man, although it took me three weeks to understand his accent (which was not unique to his village but in fact entirely unique to him). After spending the first two years of his Computing Science degree commuting by bus from Ayrshire (two hours each way every day), he had finally moved to Glasgow and was able to get involved in student politics. Within the month we, with many others, were being swept away by waves of Cleggmania, pounding the streets of Glasgow North with the indefatigable Katy Gordon.

Robbie stayed involved in student activism, becoming a member of Glasgow University’s Student’s Representative Council. He became the Treasurer of Liberal Youth Scotland (after an internship at Deutsche Bank, he stood unopposed for the unenviable position with the slogan ‘Vote Robbie – he speaks bank’) where he had a profound impact on both the youth wing and those he met through it. He turned it from a small group of activists into a credible voice within the party, and helped build a coordinated network of young Lib Dem campaigners across Scotland. He supported younger members to become involved, and was a kind and friendly ear. Those he met through Glasgow University Lib Dems and Liberal Youth Scotland remained some of his closest friends.

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