Tributes to Cumbernauld’s former provost

Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.

Published at 16:31 on 4 February 2015

Politics    SNP    North Lanarkshire Council

At 87-years-old, the Scottish Nationalist-stalwart died a legend in both local and national politics – with Cumbernauld’s current political pedigree paying tribute to the campaigning councillor turned passionate provost. 

Gordon Murray at an old SNP conference. Picture: Scots Independent newspaper/ Scottish Political Archive/ Flickr.

CUMBERNAULD’S current political class have been paying their respects to a man who has become a legend in not just local politics, but in national politics.

Former Cumbernauld Provost, and SNP politician Gordon Murray passed away earlier this week, in a local nursing room, after a steady decline in his health over the past few years.

At 87-years-old, the Scottish Nationalist-stalwart died a legend in both local and national politics – with Cumbernauld’s current political pedigree paying tribute to the campaigning councillor turned passionate provost. 

Jamie Hepburn, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth’s constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament said he was “very sad” to hear of the news, in a statement posted to his Facebook page.

The SNP man said: “Many people will by now be aware that former Provost of Cumbernauld Gordon Murray very sadly passed away at the age of 87 at the weekend just passed.

“I was very sad to hear of the death of Gordon and take this opportunity to pass my condolences on to his family and friends. Gordon was a big figure on the political scene for many years, and as an able local politician he represented the people of Cumbernauld as a councillor over a remarkable four decades. He will of course also be remembered for his role as Provost of Cumbernauld.

“Gordon led a colourful political life and was in regular correspondence with me until he announced his retirement from active politics only a few years ago. He will be remembered as a campaigner for Scottish Independence and a staunch advocate for the people of Cumbernauld.”

Cumbernauld South councillor Paddy Hogg was another incumbent politician to pay homage to the late Gordon Murray.

Mr Hogg said: “Gordon Murray was the finest politician Cumbernauld and Kilsyth ever had. He was a Nationalist all his days even after he left the SNP group to be an Independent fighting for Cumbernauld.

“He was a proud man, a passionate shrewd politician and a family man who loved Cumbernauld and Scotland. I was proud to be his friend right up to his death. The town has lost a great son,’’ added Councillor Hogg.”

Working in the world of politics as an elected member for some 45 years, Gordon Murray began his political career as a member of Dumbarton County Council, in 1967, before he served as a member of Cumbernauld Burgh Council, then on Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District Council, before being elected to Strathclyde Regional Council, and finally, to North Lanarkshire Council upon its inception, in 1995.

As well as being Provost of Cumbernauld Burgh and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District, Mr Murray had been a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Strathclyde Police and Lanarkshire Joint Valuation Boards and a board member of Campsies Centres Cumbernauld Ltd.

Mr Murray stood down as a Councillor in 2012, citing deteriorating health reasons for his decision not to seek re-election under the Cumbernauld Independent Councillors’ Alliance banner, in the 2012 local elections.

Councillor Jim McCabe, leader of North Lanarkshire Council has also paid tribute to Mr Murray, who passed away in Seafar’s Darroch Nursing Home, on Sunday (1 February).

Mr McCabe said: "Gordon was one of the most committed politicians I have ever met. His 45 years of public service as an elected member are testament to his deep care for the people he represented and, right up to his retiral, he attended every meeting and made his voice heard. In particular, his knowledge of local government finance was second to none. He will be sadly missed by the community in Cumbernauld."

Councillor David Stocks, leader of the SNP group at North Lanarkshire Council has also reacted to the news. He has spoken of his “great sadness” at Mr Murray’s passing.

Mr Stocks said: "It was with great sadness I learned of Gordon's death. In my early days as a councillor he was one of the more experienced members I looked to for advice from time to time.

"Although we had disagreed latterly, I have no doubt he will go down as a legend in the SNP and in Cumbernauld. The sympathies of the SNP group are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Gavin Whitefield, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council has also paid his own tribute to Mr Murray, describing him as “second to none”.

Mr Whitefield added: “He was forensic in his examination of reports to the council and he challenged anything he was unsure of or which he didn't believe was the right approach.

"To serve his community for 45 years was a remarkable achievement and nothing exemplifies that better than the fact that he was Provost for the whole life of Cumbernauld Burgh Council before taking up the same role with Cumbernauld and Kilsyth District. Our thoughts are very much with his family and friends."