Bill Brockie – a life well lived

Longstanding Green member Bill Brockie died on 11 June after a period of illness. Former Green councillor Gavin Corbett reflects on Bill’s legacy.

When I moved to Edinburgh in 1991 Bill was one of the first Greens I met. At the time he was the rector of St Martin’s church in Dalry and living in the church house in Ardmillan Terrace. An instantly memorable figure Bill sported the beard of an Old Testament patriarch but a genial demeanour to bely that.

An early mover of Edinburgh institutions from the 1970s – Gorgie City Farm, Barony Housing Association and Spokes, the cycling campaign all bore his hallmark. Indeed Spokes retains an address at St Martin’s.

As a Green Bill was always ready to put his shoulder to the wheel in delivering leaflets and a regular speaker at party events where his commitment to social justice shone fiercely. He memorably closed one conference telling the 100th monkey tale which he’d picked up from his CND actions.

Aside from Green activity I also knew Bill and his wife Jenny and family from bothies in the Borders and cycling. When Bill retired as a priest he and Jenny took off round the world on their bikes.

I’ll miss Bill but admire his as a life well lived.

Gavin Corbett has been a Green member since 1989 and was Green councillor for Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart from 2012 to 2021. He currently works as a Green special adviser in the Scottish Government