Argyll and Bute councillor Al Reay has died suddenly but peacefully at his home in Helensburgh.
Council leader Dick Walsh expressed his shock and sadness at the death of a ‘revered colleague’, and paid tribute to the role Councillor Reay has played in the council since his election in 2003.
“Al Reay was a councillor of high integrity - a hard working member dedicated to doing his very best on behalf of all his constituents,” Councillor Walsh said.
“He was a giant among his colleagues, commanding great respect for his very professional approach to council business, his leadership skills and abilities. His common sense and down to earth approach and his unstinting support for others was appreciated by many, and he will be greatly missed by everyone at Argyll and Bute Council.
“His loss will of course be particularly keenly felt in the Helensburgh area, which he was so proud to serve and to which he devoted so much of his time and energy.
“Our thoughts, sympathies and prayers are with his family at this time of sadness”.
Councillor Reay was born in Croydon, but had lived in Helensburgh for the last 44 years. He had a long and distinguished career in the Royal Navy which he joined at the age of 16, rising through the ranks to become a Lieutenant Commander.
He was awarded the MBE for his contribution to the implementation of the Trident weapons system.
He became a Liberal Democrat on retiring from the Navy, and was elected to the Helensburgh Central ward in 2003.
Fellow Helensburgh and Lomond councillor Ellen Morton, who is also the depute leader of the council and the leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said Councillor Reay’s death would be an ‘enormous loss’ to the area.
“Al Reay was one of the most honest people I have ever met,” she added.
“He brought into politics all the virtues which had marked his distinguished naval career: integrity, duty, responsibility and service.
“Al was both a respected colleague and a trusted friend. I always knew that I could rely on Al to speak the truth and to offer me unstinting support.
“He never worried about promoting himself - only about doing the right thing both for his ward and for the people of Argyll and Bute. He is an enormous loss to his family and friends – to whom I send my deepest sympathies – also to me as Lib Dem group Leader, to the other group members, to the council as a whole and to the people he represented so diligently in Helensburgh Central.”
Councillor Reay is survived by his wife Liz, three sons, one daughter and three grandsons.