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Tributes paid following death of former Liberal Democrat Highland Councillor and fair trade champion who played pivotal role in planning visit of Dalai Lama to Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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Former Highland councillor Hamish Wood.
Former Highland councillor Hamish Wood.

Tributes have been paid to a former Highland councillor who played a pivotal role in planning the visit by the Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to Inverness in 2012.

Hamish Wood was the Scottish Liberal Democrats representative for the Aird and Loch Ness ward from 2007-2017.

Mr Wood was also a former assistant principal at Inverness College UHI and active in voluntary organisations, including the Samaritans, as well as being a champion for Fair Trade and cycling.

During his time as a Highland councillor, he served on the education, culture and sport committee, the finance, housing and resources committee as well as the planning, environment and development committee.

He was also on the licensing committee and a very active member of the City of Inverness Committee.

Council convener, Cllr Bill Lobban, was "truly saddened" to hear he had passed away.

"He always took his social responsibilities seriously and spoke up many times for those less fortunate," Cllr Lobban said.

"He was a passionate champion of fair trade, spearheading a campaign for the Highlands to attain Scotland Fairtrade Zone status.

"He also played a pivotal role in the planning of the visit by the Dalai Lama to Inverness in 2012.

"Leading up to the event in Eden Court, he engaged with local schools and made sure as many young people as possible had the opportunity to play their part on what was a very memorable occasion.

"When he stood down as a councillor, I missed his thoughtful comments during debates and the quiet way he went about his job, contributing at both a local and strategic level to the work of the council and demonstrating a great compassion for his constituents.

"He will be sorely missed, not just by his family and friends, to whom I extend my deepest sympathy, but also the wider community."

Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors, Cllr Alex Graham, said: "Hamish was a man of great determination and strong principles, living very much in accordance with his deeply held faith.

"He was a former assistant principal at Inverness College UHI, dedicated to education and to helping others.

"A staunch Liberal, Hamish worked hard for his constituents during a decade of service on Highland Council, refusing to slow down even as his health declined.

“Outwith the council he was active in voluntary organisations, including the Samaritans, and was a passionate champion of sport and in particular cycling.”

Council leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, who represented the Aird and Loch Ness ward alongside Cllr Wood said he was always community focused and a great support with ward work.

"He had the ability to see the wider picture," she said.

"His dedication shone through everything he did. I’m sure everyone who had the privilege of serving with him will have their own special memories.

"My enduring memory of Hamish is how he used his bike to go around the ward and his pure delight when he met the Dalai Lama in Inverness."

She said the council's thoughts were with his family.

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