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Features - Sandy Lindsay

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In Tribute to Sandy Lindsay 1923 - 2004

Former Highland Regional Councillor Sandy Lindsay died peacefully at his home in Kingussie on 29th August in his eighty-first year. His cherry manner laced with a shrewd good sense prompt a multitude of anecdotes. Born in Lanarkshire he became a Hurricane pilot in Burma in WW2, and later founded the cairngorm Gliding Club.

He joined the post war Labour Party and a move to set up shop in the Glenmore Forest Park, lured him into local politics. Sandy won friends and deflated opponents without rancour. He was blessed with a disarming good nature and wicked sense of humour which he honed as councillor for Aviemore district from 1963 in Inverness-shire County Council and subsequently in Highland Regional Council from 1975 to 1989 where he held Chair of the Manpower Services.

He had taken part in debates in Labour Party Scottish Conference debates demanding radical land reform and banning the bomb. As a stalwart of the British Legion's Aviemore Branch, he promoted the CND ex-service group and advocated a Yes vote in the 1975 European referendum. But Sandy was scunnered by the Labour Scottish Office Ministers who refused to stop schools, closed due to depopulation, returning to the lairds through their right of feudal pre-emption. So he joined the SNP and was re-elected as an SNP councillor till he retired.  He had been an early advocate of banning the bely and the wide-spread return of teaching of Gaelic.

He co-founded the Dalnavert land co-operative in 1981, lived there by the Spey till he retired to Kingussie because adult diabetes slowly robbed him of his sight.  Latterly his wife Morag had to read him the news and write his pithy letters-to-the-editor.

He supported the Assynt Crofters in 1992 and erecting the land raid cairn in Knoydart.  With Peter Findlay his planning application to demolish the huge statue of the Duke of Sutherland on Ben Bhraggie was inevitably refused but it sparked a debate on several continents.  Sandy was delighted that feudal abolition and the Cairngorm National Park were early acts of the Scottish Parliament.

He was agitating last summer for a community buy-out of nearby Kinrara.

We remember Sandy Lindsay's speeches in the council and the humanism of a truly radical Scot.  His close family was enriched by a cheerful, kindly husband and father.  He is survived by his wife Morag and children Sandy and Isobel

                                                                                                                           Rob Gibson

                             (First printed in the December 2004 issue of The Scots Independent)

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