Helen McGrath Pays Tribute to Ian Spafford on behalf of LLG

Publish date: 26/05/2021

A tribute to the life and contribution Ian Spafford made to Solicitors in Local Government and LGG Training.

Ian Spafford was the type of individual every board needs amongst their ranks to be successful. A person who upholds governance and ethics; a person who scrutinises decisions, motivations and actions. A person unafraid to rock the boat in pursuit of all that is right and necessary. This is certainly my impression of Ian from the moment I first met him whilst an unsure, somewhat bewildered trainee on the board of Solicitors in Local Government (SLG). Ian personified integrity in his pursuit of 'not letting go' when the magnitude required it. For that, he was an essential mentor to observe in full flight and I remain both delighted and grateful to have benefited from his wisdom and stoic candour.

Ian was the Branch Secretary of the Yorkshire and Humber Branch for many years. He is referenced several times in John Emms' book, "Local Lawyers: Public Practice" which gives a nod towards his enthusiasm and proactive approach to getting things organised at Branch level. He was a director on the Board of SLG and also director on the board of LGG Training.

Ian sadly passed away suddenly on 9th February 2021 at the age of 72. His online remembrance book describes him as "a gregarious and larger than life character, a sociable man with a real sense of adventure and zest of life", and I was privileged enough to have witnessed that on many occasions. Ian was always especially fun at the Weekend Schools. I enjoyed one particular stand out evening on the occasion of the coveted Weekend School Quiz when I happened to find myself in Ian's team. From recollection, we were also joined by Dennis Hall (former Northern Branch Secretary and Chair of SLG). Ian was exceptionally knowledgeable, lots of fun and rather competitive. We drew for first place and lost the tie-breaker. I forget who did win, but the hilarity of the evening, the sheer enjoyment of the whole social occasion was all the more richer for spending it in the company of Ian. I am sure this is true for all whom knew him.

Ian is survived by his wife, Resh and children, Syimah and Hassan. LLG gives formal thanks to them for the dedication, commitment and time Ian gave to the organisation over many years, and heartfelt condolences for the loss of a such a great character and wonderful man.

Helen McGrath

Head of Public Affairs