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Pennine Community Credit Union founding member Lou Gildea passes away


22 Dec 17

Lou and his wife Mary were the founder members of the then Nelson, now Pennine Community Credit Union. Lou was President for the first 21 years and remained a director for a further 4. It’s the end of an era for PCCU; Lou was an inspirational man who worked tirelessly for PCCU, setting strong foundations for the credit union to build on. 

In 1982 Lou and his wife Mary had the brainwave of setting up a savings group with a view to starting a Credit Union. This happened on 23rd April 1982 with 15 members joining. Nelson Community Credit Union Ltd was officially registered later that year on 31st August 1982.

Lou as President and Mary as Treasurer lead the Credit Union through many years of development working all hours and showing total dedication and commitment, developing a strong base on which Nelson Community Credit Union, then Pendle Community Credit Union in 2005 and latterly Pennine Community Credit Union in 2012 have flourished.

Lou had worked as a Credit Union Developer for Burnley Borough Council until his retirement and helped set up local credit unions and was well respected in the credit union movement. There is a long list of Lou’s achievements and all at PCCU were very pleased when he was awarded the Pioneer Award at the ABCUL Conference 2014.  He was extremely proud to receive the award.

PCCU now developed into a Credit Union which serves the whole communities of Burnley and Pendle with over 5500 members, has taken its total lending to the community to £44m, and the last 12 months account holders have saved over £7m.

Kathryn Fogg, CEO of PCCU has commented on Lou’s passing, Kathryn said:  “Lou leaves a strong legacy of co-operation and helping people help themselves.  He built strong foundations that all at PCCU cherish and are passionate about continuing to strengthen as we grow.

“We have many tales of how Lou helped people and how personally he felt if a member went into arrears.  I can remember both Lou and Mary sitting outside a member’s house eating fish and chips, waiting to catch the member who dared not pay their loan back!

“Although Lou has not attended board meetings for a couple of years, there is not a decision we take without thinking how he would feel about it.

“He was a pillar of our community, a genuine and compassionate gentle man with a cheeky sense of humour.  He was an inspiration to us all and will be sadly missed but never forgotten.”

Lou has given 30 years of his life to the Credit Union movement and without him PCCU and other local Credit Unions would never have started.

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