Joyce – a principled fighter for fairness

Joyce Smith  pictured in 1988
Joyce Smith pictured in 1988
  • Caring and compassionate
  • Fairness and equality
  • Tributes to Joyce Smith

A strong, determined and proud voice, and a caring champion of social justice – some of the qualities which people remember about Joyce Smith.

The veteran former Levenmouth councillor died on Thursday afternoon, aged 77, eight years after stepping out of the political spotlight.

Joyce was an outstanding ambassador for her community

Lindsay Roy

She had served the Methil, Mountfleurie and Methilhill areas for 25 years, firstly as a Fife Regional councillor, then under the single unitary authority from 1996.

Born and brought up in Methil, Joyce was actively involved in the trade union and Labour movement since the age of 16.

She worked at the former GEC firm in Kirkcaldy and was convenor of the GMBATU union shop stewards there.

She also chaired the Kirkcaldy Constituency and Central Fife Constituency Labour Parties.

First elected as a councillor in 1982, she served on Fife Region’s social work and education committees, plus various health and education bodies.

She represented COSLA on SCOTVEC for many years and became the first fellow of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Joyce did not seek re-election in 2007 for health reasons but pledged still to be there for anyone locally who needed help or advice – and she hoped a community council might be established for Methilhill, so the area’s needs could be addressed by people who fully understood them.

On retiral, she said: “It has been an absolute privilege to represent the people of Mountfleurie, Kirkland, Methil North and Methilhill. What I will miss most is being able to help people – particularly the elderly and young people.

“If you can help them overcome any difficulty – Council-related or not – it gives you a tremendous sense of satisfaction.”

Among the tributes paid to her, ex-Central Fife MP Lindsay Roy said: “Joyce was an outstanding ambassador for her community and the Kingdom of Fife over many years.

“She was a strong and courageous woman who had a clear sense of moral purpose – a true champion for social justice and fairness. Through her dedicated work, she made such a positive difference to the lives of so many people and earned their admiration and respect. Joyce will be sorely missed and will be fondly remembered as a local heroine, as a result of her many achievements.”

Levenmouth area committee vice-chairman, Labour councillor David Graham, added: “Joyce, as a councillor, was a hard act to follow. She represented our community with a straight-talking determination and dedication which gained respect from all.

“Since I was elected in 2012, Joyce has been a true ally and, most of all, a great friend and support to my family even through some really tough times for us, most notably during the death of my wife Sharon.

“Levenmouth and the people of Fife are far, far richer having known Joyce and her true caring and compassionate personality.

“My thoughts and deepest sympathy goes to the family and friends of Joyce at this sad time for our community.”

Former East Fife Mail editor Jerzy Morkis said the area had “lost a strong and proud voice”.

He added Joyce had fought tirelessly for Levenmouth, and Fife as a whole.

“I got to know her when she was a stalwart at Levenmouth Trades Council, and health and education were two areas she was passionate about.

“She cared about people and always did her best to ensure everyone was treated fairly.

“She was also a great supporter of the local press, and the East Fife Mail in particular, seeing it as an important platform for the community.”