IRVINE’S former MP David Lambie celebrated his 90th birthday last week.

He served as MP for the local area for 22 years, representing Central Ayrshire from 1970 and Cunninghame South following boundary changes in 1983 until his retirement in 1992.

David was born in Saltcoats, into a political family – both his parents Robert and Robina sat on Saltcoats Town Council and both became Provost of the town.

He attended Kyleshill Primary, Ardrossan Academy and graduated from Glasgow University.

After a spell at Geneva University he qualified as a teacher and taught Geography and Maths at Allan Glen’s and North Kelvinside in Glasgow.

His political activism began at the tender age of 16 when he joined the Labour Party, and shot through its ranks eventually becoming party chairman in 1965 to 1966.

While a teacher he was a prominent member of teachers’ union the Educational Institute of Scotland.

His path to the Westminster had a few false starts with unsuccessful bids for the North Ayrshire and Bute seat four times in 1955, 1959, 1964 and 1966.

However, each of his attempts helped to chip away at majorities and in 1970 he won the new seat of Central Ayrshire and is credited among his Labour contemporaries as turning the constituency into a safe Labour seat.

In Parliament he had a spell as chairman of the Scottish Select Committee on Scottish Affairs, following Donald Dewar, and also served on the Council of Europe.

After his retirement he became involved with Cunninghame Housing Association and was chairman for many years until he retired in 2013.

On his few days off he enjoyed watching Saltcoats Vics and to this day remains a staunch lifelong supporter.

David didn’t shy away from controversy. As a confirmed international Socialist and pacifist he led a rebellion of 50 MPs against the Falklands War in 1982 and faced the wrath of the tabloid press.

Married to Netta, his wife of 63 years, he is also a big family man with four daughters and a son and an extended family of 12 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren,many of who gathered at his recent celebration at the Lauriston Hotel in Ardrossan.

Brian Donohoe, David’s successor in Central Ayrshire, paid tribute to his tenure as an MP. “He shaped my own career in that I determined early on to be a brilliant constituency member and David was absolutely exceptional in that respect.

“He served his constituency very well and brought a lot of industry to the area, some of it very quietly.

“He went through some rough times as well with closures, but some of the new industries came after a long haul and even though David had retired he did a lot of work which bore fruit and he has got to be complimented for that.

“The biggest achievement David was responsible for was to convince Caledonian Paper to come to the area.

“That was about the biggest single post-war investment in Scotland in the private sector and that was an enormous achievement and a legacy that remains to this day.

“Bringing up his family is also a great achievement and Netta has been a great support to him and been outstanding in standing by him in the difficult times as well as the good.”