Tributes paid to ‘intellectual powerhouse’ of local government Colin Mair, who has died

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 May 2019 in News

DFM John Swinney among those paying tribute to former Improvement Service chief Colin Mair

Colin Mair - Holyrood

Tributes have been paid to former Improvement Service chief executive Colin Mair, who has died after an illness.

Mair retired in 2018 after 14 years heading the local government research body, which he helped found.

He passed away on Friday, 17 May.

Improvement Service interim chief Sarah Gadsden said: “Colin was instrumental in the founding of the Improvement Service and led the organisation from 2005 until his retirement in March 2018.

“As a passionate believer in the importance of public services working together to improve the life chances and opportunities of individuals, families and communities across Scotland, Colin's contribution to, and impact on, local public services will never be forgotten.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney tweeted: "I am terribly sorry to hear of the death of Colin Mair, a man of outstanding intellect, candid advice and dedication to improve the common good. I will miss all that he brought to our country."

Councillors joined the tributes, including Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council, who said: “In local government, we knew him as an intellectual powerhouse and a force of nature, utterly dedicated to improving democratic engagement & outcomes for communities. A huge loss.”

Louise Macdonald, chief executive of youth charity Young Scot, said: “This is such heartbreaking news. [Colin was] one of the very finest it’s been my privilege to know and work with.

“A towering intellect and so generous with his time, insight and support for Young Scot, Colin is such a loss.”

Mandy Rhodes, managing director of Holyrood Communications, said Mair had been a personal support to her and had brought his experience and wisdom to bear as both a contributor and ally to Holyrood over many years.

Mair will be celebrated at a private family funeral.

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