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Highland Council colleagues pay tribute to Nairn councillor Tom Heggie

By Donald Wilson

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Cllr Tom Heggie.
Cllr Tom Heggie.

Shocked colleagues at Highland Council have paid tribute to Councillor Tom Heggie who died suddenly yesterday.

Elected as an Independent councillor to the Nairn and Cawdor Ward in May 2017, Cllr Heggie, who had a career in teaching and was church minister in two local churches, was appointed chairman of the Nairnshire committee by his three Nairn colleagues on the council.

He was also vice-chairman of the education committee and served on the south planning applications vommittee.

He had a strong community commitment and was represented on several organisations including Nairn Sports Club; Nairn Allotment Society; Nairn Community and Arts Centre; and the Highland Community Justice Partnership.

Always active in the community since coming to Nairn as minister of Nairn Old Parish Church over 40 years ago, he was latterly a member of Nairn St Ninians Church of Scotland, a social member of Nairn Dunbar Golf Club, and a director of High Life Highland.

Council convener Bill Lobban said: “I was personally very saddened to hear of the death of my friend and colleague Tom Heggie. Tom was the very epitome of a local councillor. A man who genuinely cared passionately about his local community and all the people within it. Most especially he was a tireless advocate for Nairn.

“Tom will be sorely missed by his family and friends but also by his colleagues in the Highland Council who held him in such high regard and the wider community for whom he did so much.”

Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “Tom was a rare gentleman. He was a great support to many people in Nairn when they needed him most. I always saw courage and kindness in all his council duties. I send my condolences to his family and Nairn.”

Nairn Provost Laurie Fraser said: “On behalf of the Nairnshire committee, fellow members Liz MacDonald and Peter Saggers and I wish to express our deepest condolences to Tom’s family. Tom was a committed worker for the community of Nairn on many high-profile projects. He identified with the underprivileged and those who were in need whether it be for housing support and other social needs, working tirelessly for the good and benefit of the community. His enthusiasm and dedication knew no bounds.

“Tom was a rare individual who represented the people of Nairn as area chairman upon his election five years ago. He grasped this role soundly and steered the Nairnshire committee through a steady course. With an illustrious career both in teaching and in the Ministry, Tom worked in Nairn Academy, Forres Academy and Glasgow and at Nairn Old Parish Church and Nairn United Reformed Church. Tom will be sorely missed by his fellow councillors and both in the community and the churches that he represented.”

Chairman of the council’s education committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: “Today is a very sad day as we come to terms with the loss of our respected colleague Tom. I have known Tom for several years and he was a man with a great sense of humour, and he was a dedicated family man. He wanted to work to serve his community, first as a minister and as a councillor. His loss will be felt by his colleagues, Highland Council staff, his community and of course his family.”

Julie Macdonald, Nairn Academy head teacher said: “Staff are shocked and saddened with the sudden passing of Tom Heggie. Several staff in the school were here when Tom taught in the maths department including a teacher who was also his former pupil. As well as a valued former colleague, Tom was such a positive force behind our new school here in Nairn and for his unstinting support we will be forever grateful. We send our sincere condolences to his family."

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