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'Happy to have helped'

By Kyle Ritchie

Sydney Mair, Sydney Mair MBE, Macduff Town Council, Banff and Buchan District Council, Aberdeenshire Council
Sydney Mair, Sydney Mair MBE, Macduff Town Council, Banff and Buchan District Council, Aberdeenshire Council

A FORMER Macduff councillor, who served the community for 48 years and was one of the country's longest serving public servants, has died.

Sydney Mair, who was 84, passed away last Thursday at Chalmers Hospital in Banff.

Mr Mair was recognised for his service to the area in 2010 when he was presented with a MBE from the Queen at the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

His tenure as a councillor came to an end in 2012 when he lost his seat in that year's local council elections.

Aberdeenshire Council also recognised the public service Mr Mair had given to Macduff and the surrounding area later that year.

Provost of Aberdeenshire, councillor Bill Howatson, paid tribute to Mr Mair and said: "I knew Sydney well during the time we both served as councillors, and I would describe him as one of the most principled individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

"He had a way of getting to the real heart of any problem or issue and was a great ambassador for Aberdeenshire as a whole, and for Banff and Buchan in particular.

"Combine that with a ready wit and an accomplished sense of humour, and Sydney will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

When Mr Mair was first approached to stand for the old Macduff Town Council in 1964 he was given just a day to decide. The quick decision proved to become a significant part of his life for the next 48 years.

In an interview with the Banffshire Journal after he received his MBE he said: "There is a great deal of satisfaction in helping people with their concerns. Sometimes you can't always get the result, but if you are able to assist then it gives them a lift and you feel you have accomplished something."

He was originally born in Banff and started his career as an apprentice electrician with Harry Watson based in Low Street. He then moved onto Davidsons of Cullen until the firm went out of business. After this he was self-employed until he retired at 65.

Over the decades Mr Mair saw three re-organisations of the council. When he joined he was part of the Macduff Town Council. It was then amalgamated into the Banff and Buchan District Council before joining Aberdeenshire Council.

During his time he explained there had been a number of achievements of which he was proud of, including the building of the Macduff aquarium.

He said in the interview: "It took a lot of convincing for some councillors to agree to it, even after visits to aquariums in Mallaig and Oban to see what they offer. It was eventually passed and I think we have one of the best tourist attractions in Scotland."

Mr Mair lived in Deyhill in Macduff with wife Thelma and the couple had two daughters, Anne and Paula.

He also leaves behind sons-in-law Graeme and Colin, grandchildren Albert, Steven, Louise, Emma and Laura, and great-grandchildren Riley, Daisy, Alba, Sofia, Cooper and Jude.

His family said he was a devoted and loving husband, dearly loved father, a very special grandfather and an adored great-grandfather.

His funeral took place today at Moray Crematorium at 11.30am.

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