A new film featuring the late Fife Communist councillor Willie Clarke, is to be premiered this week.
Filmmaker Alex Cathcart’s 55 minute docudrama charting the life of legendary Communist MP Willie Gallacher, Lion Rose From Paisley, sheds new light on the revered trade unionist.
It is to be broadcast online for free on the 55th anniversary of Gallacher’s death.
The film features TV and film actor Steven Duffy as Gallacher and includes insights from former Fife councillor Willie Clarke, the last elected communist politician in the UK, who passed away in November 2019.
Alex said the project’s main aim is to remind the current and future generations of the revered and firebrand Scottish politician.
He added: “I’ve walked past the cairn erected in memory of Gallacher in Paisley hundreds of times but suddenly realised I didn’t really know much about who he was so I started researching his life and that led to the decision to make the film.”
Gallacher, was born in Paisley’s Back Sneddon, on Christmas Day 1881 later became the Communist Party MP for West Fife in 1935 and served his constituency until 1950.
He was one of the famous Red Clydesiders at the beginning of the 20th century and campaigned against the First World War.
He was twice jailed for his political activities and in 1920, travelled to Moscow and met the Bolshevik leader of the Russian revolution Vladimir Lenin, who encouraged him to form a communist party in the UK.
“He was committed campaigner, trade unionist and hugely respected, which is ultimately shown in his death in which between 40,000 and 50,000 mourners attended the funeral.
“It’s staggering to think that in one instance mourners came up from London by taxi just to attend the funeral and on arriving the taxi driver refused to take the fare.”
Alex’s research also brought him to Fife and Willie Clarke’s unique insight into Gallacher and the support of many of the Kingdom’s mining communities for the Communist Party is featured within the film.
“Mr Clarke was a wonderful host and obviously very proud of Fife’s political history of which he played no small part.
“In recognition of Willie’s terrific contribution, the makers added With Special Thanks to Willie Clarke on the credits.
“His recollections of the Fife villages and their struggles for better living conditions should be on the national curriculum.”
The premier of Lion Rose in Paisley can be seen by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/rentv at 7pm on August 12 and available to view free thereafter.