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Death of former Nairn hotel manager and Highland councillor who was also served with Men's Health Scotland and Citizens Advice Bureau

By Donald Wilson

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Graham Marsden.
Graham Marsden.

A former Nairn hotel manager who served on Highland Council and was a leading advocate for men’s health in Scotland has passed away at the age of 76.

Graham Marsden served for a term on Highland Council after his election as a Lib-Dem in 2007 before returning to England to be closer to his family.

Born in Strawberry Hill, London in 1945 he was one of three siblings.

His career in the hospitality industry began at the age of 15 when he became a trainee manager in London and after his marriage in 1966, he and his wife Judith moved to Australia where he took on the role of assistant manager at South Australian Hotel in Adelaide.

His daughter Sarah-Jane said: “They had many adventures on the voyage to Australia exploring Athens, Cairo and Miami and they travelled around Australia extensively during their stay there in their spare time.”

On their return to the UK in 1969, he worked with the British Transport Hotels Group in Bradford and London before moving to Nairn as manager of the Royal Marine Hotel, which was part of the Scottish Highland Hotel Group.

After five years running the Royal Marine Mr Marsden then became catering manager at McDermott oil platform construction site at Ardersier.

Their children are Sarah-Jane, Simon and Jamie.

Graham set up a self-help group for people suffering from anxiety and phobias, which he ran for 10 years supporting hundreds of people, giving up his time freely.

“He was appointed convener for the charity Men’s Health Scotland, worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Nairn, and was then elected onto the Highland Council in 2007 where he made a positive difference to many groups and individuals in the region,” Sarah-Jane said.

His son Simon said: “Much of dad’s life and work was centred around his beliefs in the importance of community and family. In 2015, he moved to Cornwall to be nearer his children and grandchildren.”

He continued in local community activities becoming a parish councillor and a volunteer assessor of hospitals with the NHS.

He became clerk of his local Quaker meeting, held at the 17th Century Come-To Good Meeting House near Truro. Graham also worked in voluntary and paid roles supporting his daughter in the running of two Penryn Arts Festivals and also in presenting productions of the Cornish Ordinalia in Penryn.

A keen canoeist, it was a passion he continued in Cornwall after taking up the sport in Nairn.

He passed away after a short illness on Hogmanay following a stroke.

His son Jamie said: “He was an extraordinary man and will be sadly missed.”

Nairn Provost Laurie Fraser paid tribute to his former colleague, saying: “Graham was a good conscientious councillor, always working hard for his constituents both as a councillor and in his role with the CAB.

“News of his passing will have been learned with great sadness in Nairn where he had many friends.”

Sandown plans go back to residents for their input

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