A STAR of the independence movement, Michelle Rodger, 52, tragically passed away this week after a battle with breast cancer but she has been remembered by those that knew her best.
The news of Michelle’s death was shared on her Facebook page and she was said to have passed away “peacefully and surrounded by her family”.
Described as an “inspiration to us all, right to the very end”, the message said that Michelle’s last words to everyone would be: “Check your boobs!”
A longtime campaigner for independence, Michelle worked with different groups across the Yes movement and was even putting things together while undergoing chemotherapy.
The National’s founding editor Richard Walker, who worked with Michelle at Broadcasting Scotland on a weekly show, described her as a “great person” and an “unflappable interviewer”.
He said: “Working alongside Michelle was just a joy and she was a great person to be presenting a two-hour show with every week. She was a pretty unflappable interviewer – didn’t ask nasty questions or put people on the spot but still managed to get great stuff from people.
“In the early days of The National, Michelle wrote of a column about businesses in Scotland that was invaluable to give our readers a range of very interesting stories about Scottish business. She couldn’t do everything but had a real knack for finding interesting stories.
“There’s a light gone out for Michelle and I’m really going to miss her.”
Having worked extensively with the pro-independence campaign group Business for Scotland, its founder, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, shared a moving tribute.
He wrote: “Michelle had been with Business for Scotland from the beginning, more than a decade. Initially heading up our Glasgow events team and then coming on board as an employee and then a board member heading up our press and media coverage in 2014. Michelle was responsible for our press and our member communications and wrote countless blogs and reports for us as well as proofreading my columns and blogs, given that I am dyslexic that might have been the most challenging part of her job – she possessed the patience of a saint.
“A leading and always positive figure in Women for Indy, BfS and the wider Yes movement Michelle was also an expert in crowdfunding and served on the board of the Crowdfunding Association. She was instrumental in both of Business for Scotland’s successful crowdfunders and our most recent record-breaking Believe in Scotland fundraiser, insisting on helping pull that together even whilst undergoing chemotherapy. An intrinsic part of our success as an organisation, she was one of us and she always will be.
“We’ve lost a wonderful colleague and friend and the Yes movement has lost one of its best, but our thoughts are truly with her daughter Jazz and Michelle’s grieving friends and family.
Having worked alongside Michelle as part of Women for Independence, Suzanne McLaughlin said: “She was definitely one of the stars of the indy movement and a woman who really lived her feminism rather than just having academic ideas about it.
“She was a person who wanted to make sure everyone had a voice and worked hard to make sure those from working-class backgrounds were heard.
“Incredibly warm and an infectious giggle as well, Michelle never sought the limelight but preferred to focus on doing the hard work behind the scenes.”
Michelle also worked with SNP MP for Livingstone Hannah Bardell who described the heartbreak she and her team were feeling at the loss of a “dear friend and colleague”.
Bardell wrote: “We’re still in shock but resolute that we will continue to fight for the cases and causes that Michelle worked so hard on and cared so deeply for. She helped and supported so many people in the Livingston constituency and has worked with me in my team since I was elected in 2015. She has been a constant in my life for all of my elected career and I can’t believe she’s gone. But she was more than a friend and colleague, she was quite literally part of our family.
We are going to miss her immeasurably … Her irrepressible nature, her laugh, her smile, her endless compassion and passion, her commitment, her warmth and the way she always put others first – will be just a few of the things I will remember about Michelle and treasure, it still doesn’t feel real. Sending so much love to all of her family and friends.”