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Tributes have been pouring in following the death of Colin Cameron, chief reporter for the Argyllshire Advertiser.
Colin took over at the Squeak as it is affectionately known, in July 2015. He was a weel kent face in the area, and was loved and respected for his honest, straight-forward approach to life and community.
Describing himself as a ‘typical Mid-Argyll man’, many, including his colleagues, felt he was anything but.
Born in 1967 to Donald and Agnes Mary, Colin went to Strachur Primary School and then onto Dunoon Grammar before studying at Auchincruive Agricultural College in Ayrshire in the 1980s where he gained an HND.
For a number of years he worked as a head dairyman in Essex before becoming an agricultural inspector, where he spent some time in Orkney and in Dumfries. He found it especially difficult during the Foot and Mouth Crisis of 2001, but had already forged close relationships with farmers, which helped enormously.
It was in Dumfries he met his wife Sylvia, who worked in the same department. They were married on 7 September 1996.
Colin returned to Strachur with Sylvia when their daughter Mairi was very young as he wanted her to know her grandfather – sadly, Colin’s mother had died when Colin was very young – and he wanted her to have the same community life he had had growing up.
Colin has one sister Sandra, and was a much loved brother-in-law, uncle and great-uncle.
Colin loved sport, and shinty in particular. He join Strachur Shinty Club when he was just 15 and played until he moved to Orkney with work.
However, when he returned to the village, he would often take himself down to watch a game on a Saturday with Mairi, and end up on the pitch playing.
Sylvia told us: ‘When we come back I worked weekends so he would take Mairi to watch the shinty and often ended up playing.
‘One day he came in and half popped his head round the door to ask for the car keys. I asked what he needed them for and he said he had to pop in to Dunoon.
‘I asked why and he came in and his eye was all split…he had to go to the hospital. When I asked where Mairi was, he said he’d left her with someone at the club!’
Colin was very involved with the Strachur club and was also a director of the Camanachd Association until 2019.
Following Covid, the Strachur club had no team to come back to, and it was Colin and his friend Roddy who worked hard to ensure a new joint club was launched, Strachur Dunoon.
Having joined the Squeak in 2015, Colin worked tirelessly to cover his patch, with every event important, and made sure that what mattered to the community was reflected in the news agenda of the paper.
Group editor Susan Windram said: ‘Everyone at Wyvex Media was so saddened to hear of Colin’s passing.
‘I used to enjoy our office chats when time allowed.
‘He was passionate about the Argyllshire Advertiser and always went the extra mile. He was professional and thoughtful, and he had a lot of integrity.
‘He was a pleasure to work with and was well respected by his colleagues and the communities he served.
‘He will be very sadly missed by everyone at Wyvex Media and our condolences go to his family and friends.’
In the passed fortnight we have all been touched by the number of messages we received about Colin. Thank you to everyone who contacted us. Here are a few…
Jane MacLeod, Lord Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute: ‘I was so sad to learn of the passing of Colin Cameron.
‘Colin was an intrepid Chief Reporter who fought for so many worthy and local causes. Colin regularly attended meetings of the Mid Argyll Chamber of Commerce and, in his reporting, was an invaluable supporter of the business community of not just Mid Argyll but the whole of Argyll and Bute.
‘From reporting on the troubles at the Rest and Be Thankful to local shinty matches and agricultural shows, Colin was well known and, more importantly, very well liked by all who met him. His press reports were always fair and so well written.
‘Colin’s loss is a tragedy for Sylvia his wife and daughter Mairi but will also be acutely felt by his very many friends and colleagues in Argyll and Bute.’
Dan Griffiths MOJO music festival organiser: ‘With Colin, after knowing him for five or six years. He did a lot of features for MOJO music event – he always readily agreed to help as much as he could in promoting our volunteer venture, included putting in (and editing) all my write ups before and after the show for maximum support.
‘We used to have such a laugh together in the office. He was always witty, helpful and full of humour, and he never flinched from all the extra editing he had to do for me (yes,there was a lot!!!).
‘As I got to know him more, Colin was a real gentleman, an honest community-minded man, a life enthusiast always and a friend I will never forget.’
Lena Carter: ‘It was with great shock and sadness that I read of the tragic passing of Colin Cameron.
‘The Mid Argyll community has lost a warm and eternally cheerful friend, as well as an insightful and values driven journalist.
‘I first worked with Colin after I had moved to Mid Argyll in my role as a teacher and leader in one of our local secondary schools.
‘He helped me to connect with the community and share stories in the Squeak about the education and celebration of Mid Argyll’s children, always finding the time to ensure I got the right tone and format for my contributions.
‘Over the years since, we connected on many occasions, both in relation to my various work roles and my role as a parent and member of the community.
‘Colin was the epitome of what is needed in a journalist; he achieved the carefully managed balance in the Squeak of celebrating the best of life in Argyll and Bute whilst also drawing the attention of readers to the aspects of life here that require examination or improvement.
‘Colin was an “unfeartie” (a term used by the Scottish Children’s Parliament to describe adults who have the courage to speak up for Children’s Rights), particularly in his coverage of events where our amazing children and young people were actively involved in raising awareness around issues that matter to them, such as the Climate Strikes and Pride.
‘My last email exchange with Colin, in January, saw me (typically) asking if he could squeeze my article in to that week’s edition, right up against his deadline.
‘His response was accommodating and supportive as ever:
“I would be pleased to hear about the COP26 local champions. If you have something ready, just zip it across and I’ll slot it in as soon as I can.”
‘A photograph Colin took on his first face-to-face reporting job after the first Covid-19 pandemic involved photographing my daughter Daisy, who had been awarded the School Dux award.
‘Colin could sense that I was bursting with pride and emotion and suggested that he snapped “one with mum”.
‘The shot never made the final cut for the paper but it is a picture that tells a thousand stories and which Colin made sure I got a copy of.
‘Thank you Colin, for helping so many of us celebrate the best in our children through the stories you shared.
‘You will be greatly missed and impossible to replace. My thoughts are with Colin’s family members and friends at this saddest of times.’
Barabel McKay: ‘I am beyond shocked and sad. Colin had become a dependable friend as well as a support to the causes of truth and justice.’
Councillor Dougie Philand: ‘I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Colin; my condolences go to all at the Advertiser. Colin was a true gentleman.
‘Colin was such a passionate honest and diligent reporter whose key objectives were to report on all issues relating to the Mid Argyll area to ensure the public were fully informed of what was going on.
‘He was excellent to work with and even took the time when so unwell to pass on good wishes to myself a couple of weeks before he died, the mark of a true gentleman. He will be sorely missed and I am proud to be associated with such a delightful man.’
Nikki Thompson: ‘Colin was a top class journalist, very highly regarded in Mid Argyll. He was also a very dear friend.’
Aileen MacLennan Communications Office Argyll and Bute Council: ‘I was so sad to hear about Colin this morning. He was a truly lovely man and will be missed by many.’
Writer Marian Pallister: I’m deeply saddened to hear about Colin’s death. Colin had become a friend over the years.’
Lee Buckley of Mid Argyll RFC: ‘I was very sad to hear of Colin’s passing and I just wanted to pass on our condolences from everyone at Mid Argyll RFC and from me personally.
‘Colin was always very supportive of what we have been trying to do at the club and we’ve had some very in-depth conversations about sport in Argyll in general over the years…usually focusing on shinty and rugby!
‘He was a top guy and will be sadly missed by many people across Mid Argyll.’
Heather Thomas-Smith, outdoor columnist for the paper: ‘I am so terribly sorry to hear this news. I can only offer my sincere condolences to his family at such a sad time. His editorial skills and drive will be very much missed.’
Kim Ritchie, former chairperson of Mid Argyll Community Enterprises Limited: ‘Like so many people, I was very sad to hear the news of Colin’s death.
‘I just wanted to let all his colleagues at Wyvex know how much I appreciated everything he did for the charities I was and am involved with.
‘He was the most fantastic publicist for MACPool during the time I was chair of the MACEL Board and a great support to our redevelopment project. He was also great at giving much needed publicity to the activities of the Mid Argyll Branch of the RSCDS (Scottish Country Dance) of which I am chair.
‘Colin was always approachable and welcoming however busy and he was an absolute pleasure to deal with.
‘Please pass on my heartfelt sympathy to Colin’s family. Mid Argyll will miss him and so will I.’
Marina Campbell, of Mary’s Meals, Lochgilphead: ‘So sorry to hear of Colin’s passing – he was always so very kind to us here in Mary’s Meals Charity Shop, Lochgilphead and we will miss him very much.’