Veteran councillors bid voters farewell - Gazette
VETERAN Clydesdale Councillors lan Gray, Mary McNeill, Beith Forrest and Danny Meikle are all to stand down at the local government elections on Thursday, May 3.
SNP man lan (64) was first elected in the old Carluke West seat way back in 1988 and in recent years has represented Clydesdale West.
He said: "Getting elected to represent Forth in 2003 was really unexpected for me because the village had been a solid bastion of Labour support and I was its first ever SNP Councillor."
Carluke resident lan is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Eleanor in retirement.
He added: "I'm sure it will be a pleasure for Eleanor to walk down the street and not be given a series of problems from local people to pass on to me!
"I also hope to see more of my grandchildren, play golf and watch Motherwell FC in the Champions League!"
Labour stalwart Mary McNeill, of Clydesdale North, has been a councillor since 1999.
She said she'd really enjoyed the intervening years, including keeping the Clydesdale Befriending Group going and seeing Lanark's new swimming pool opening.
When asked her reasons for retiring, Mary said: "I regret the changes to multi-member wards. I was initially elected on a Labour ticket but, after the re-organisation, I was representing people whatever their politics were. With multi-member wards, all sorts of political games can be played."
Labour Councillor Danny (65), of Clydesdale South - who has been a councillor since 1988 - said he took great pride in his campaign to successfully preserve six local opencast mines and 1000 jobs.
Danny - who is looking forward to spending more time with his family in retirement - was also proud of the fact that he campaigned to get the UK's first community benefit windfarm scheme at Hagshawhill. He added: "I'm in good health and hope to enjoy a good family life for many years."
Clydesdale East Tory member Beith Forrest (70) is standing down after 24 years as a councillor.
He said: "I've been keeping ill health in the last two years and didn't want to commit to something for another five years. I always said that I wouldn't stand until the bitter end.
"When I do retire it will be the family's first break after a total of 78 years in politics.
"My dad Alexander and mum Effie were both councillors before me, for 36 years and 18 years respectively."
Beith said that retirement would allow him to spend more time with his family and to enjoy fishing.
Candidates who are standing in the four Clydesdale wards on May 3 are:
Clydesdale West (four seats available) - Alex Allison (Conservative); Lynsey Hamilton (Labour); Pat Lee (SNP); Eileen Logan (Labour); Neil MacLeod (UKIP); Robin Mawhinney (Christian Party); Duncan McFarlane (Independent); Peter Meehan (Liberal Democrats) and David Shearer (SNP).
Clydesdale North (three seats)
- Ed Archer (Independent); Catherine McClymont (Labour); Gordon Muir (Labour); Patrick Ross-Taylor (Conservative); Vivienne Shaw (SNP) and George Sutherland (SNP).
Clydesdale East (three seats) -Ralph Barker (Labour); Bev Gauld (SNP); lan Donald McAllan (SNP); John McLatchie (Conservative); Janet Moxley (Green) and Hamish Stewart (Conservative).
Clydesdale South (three seats) - George Greenshields (Labour); Archie Manson (SNP); Tom McDonald (SNP); Chris McEwan (UKIP); Colin McGavigan (Conservative) and Alex Mclnnes (Labour).
Time to take a back seat...veteran councillors lan Gray, Mary McNeill, Danny Meikle and Beith Forrest
By Craig Goldthorp
Carluke and Lanark Gazette