Worried Shaun Macaulay saw his life flash before his eyes when he was rushed into hospital after feeling unwell at a community event.

The SNP North Ayrshire deputy leader needed emergency surgery after becoming desperately unwell in summer 2018 and the outlook seemed bleak.

While he admits he is  facing a challenge helping to lead an SNP minority administration following the election success last month, he clearly has a new perspective of life following his traumatic ordeal during his first term as a councillor.

He recalled: “I was at a funding participation event and then another one at Eglinton Park and felt really unwell. I had to be taken into hospital and it just got worse and worse.

“I had pancreatitis which caused complications like sepsis. 

“It was touch and go and they told my family to be prepared for what could happen. It could have been fatal or I could have lost limbs. 

“Eventually I was well enough to be transferred to the Royal Infirmary from Crosshouse and had to get a stoma  fitted which was temporary but when I got better I still had it for a time.

“It was caused by gallstones which caused a block on my tubes.”

He said: “When something like that happens to you and you have family, it changes your outlook and you before you try not to let things bother you like before and try to see the bigger picture.

“When in the hospital bed I wouldn’t be thinking I wished I earned more money or had a better job. I started thinking I wished I had spent time with my family and seen that part of the world. 

“I thought my life was ahead of me and overnight I might not have a future, it was scary. It’s surreal to look back on but you have to live life to the full.”

Now, rejuvenated Shaun is hoping to work closely with the Labour Party as they move ahead.

He said: “This is how local government should be, it’s a minority administration and we’re working through things on an issue by issue basis.

“When we were in that position, if we thought something was a good idea we weren’t going to oppose it because it came from the Labour administration.”

The cost of living crisis is the top priority for the SNP.

He added: “The cost of living crisis was at the centre of our campaign and was the top issue on the doorsteps. In  the next few weeks you will see a lot more detailed papers to deal with this and we will talk to the officers of the different departments to see what they can do to help cut the cost of living. We know people want help now, not years into the future.

“Westminster is doing next to nothing to help.

“The Tory Government should go round the streets of Irvine and see how things are going.

“We will work with others including the Scottish Government and organisations around here to help people.”

Shaun says the SNP will carry on the council house building programme, and Community Wealth Building which helps ensure work on projects is shared around North Ayrshire.

He added: “We must continue to champion community wealth building and support local companies. If we as a council wish to promote local suppliers and businesses and we are not using them it doesn’t make sense so that’s something we must continue to do.

“We must organise the local economy in a way that helps the people.”

He looks forward to working with council leader Marie Burns and said: “Marie  has a huge amount of experience. We work well together but it’s not just her, we have a good cabinet and at our meeting last Tuesday a lot of good ideas were thrown around with fresh enthusiasm.

“We’re delighted to have a good young councillor like Chloe Robertson and to have gender balance. We also put mechanisms in place to allow more women to stand.”