Tribute to former Western Isles chief executive

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Dr Neil Galbraith OBE, former director of education and acting chief executive for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and latterly chairman of NHS Western Isles, has died at the age of 78.

The convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has paid tribute and the council flag is flying at half-mast.

Dr Galbraith was born and brought up in Govan, Glasgow, and was educated at Govan High School and then went on to secure his teaching qualification.

Dr Galbraith taught at the Nicolson Institute for many years before serving as the comhairle’s director of education for 20 years, until seconded to the acting chief executive’s post in May 1999 where he remained until September 2000. He was chairman of NHS Western Isles since his appointment in 2011.

Dr Galbraith was awarded an OBE in 1995 for his services to education in the Western Isles. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Open University.

He served as chairman of the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, was a former president of the Association of Directors of Education, served on the board of governors of the Northern College of Education and held the position of honorary sheriff.

The convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Councillor Norman A Macdonald, said: ‘Neil was a nationally recognised leader in education, serving not only the community of the Western Isles but contributing at national and international levels.

‘He was an esteemed and committed public servant, serving for more than 50 years in teaching, local government and the health service. He was fully committed to all the roles he carried out, rising to the top in his chosen professions but never forgetting his roots.

‘It is with deep sadness that his colleagues have learned of his passing and he will undoubtedly be missed by all.

‘Our thoughts are with his wife Bella, son Robert, daughters Caroline and Sandra, the extended family and his friends.’