West Highlands lose ‘real fighter’ with death of Stewart MacLean

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Tributes have been paid from across Lochaber to roads campaigner, former Fort William FC chairman and local businessman, Stewart MacLean, who died earlier this month after a long illness.

Among those attending Mr MacLean’s funeral service, held at Fort William Kilmallie Church of Scotland on Saturday, was Scottish Conservatives leader, Douglas Ross MSP and former Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP, Mary Scanlon.

Caol and Mallaig councillor, Allan Henderson, had known Mr MacLean since the two men both ended up on the Fort William and Lochaber Tourist Board in 1980.

Mr Henderson added: ‘There he quickly displayed his marketing talent, sharp intellect and strategic thinking while never frightened to scrutinise decisions.

‘Over the years he continued to be generous with his voluntary time while developing his own business interests. His work in helping to save the Belford and with Transport Scotland/Government officials, firstly getting pulpit rock corner realigned, and then lobbying with the A82 campaign group for the upgrading of the Inverarnan to Tarbet stretch is legendary.

‘Completing this stretch of road will be a suitable legacy in memory of Stewart.’

Mr Henderson’s former Caol and Mallaig ward councillor, Ben Thompson, told us: ‘Stewart was active in many Lochaber community causes but I knew him best through his work with the A82 Partnership.

‘He was a vocal and fearless campaigner for better transport links and his commitment to that cause was unstinting over very many years.

‘The West Highlands has lost a real fighter for one of the most important issues we face.’

John Hutchison, retired senior council official but now community advocate, added:  ‘Stewart did a great deal for the broader community over many years, sometimes through other groups but mostly by his own initiative.

‘I was fortunate to be his colleague in TBag, the A82 Partnership and a cinema project.  Stewart’s business experience and single-mindedness often brought focus and drive to community efforts, to everyone’s benefit.’