Tributes have been paid to former North Ayrshire Provost Ian Clarkson, who sadly died at the weekend.

The long-serving former Labour councillor passed away on Sunday, May 7, aged 75.

He stood down as a councillor and Provost due to ill health last year, after 27 years service.

He served as a Kilwinning councillor for some time before switching to an Irvine seat 20 years ago.

Kilwinning Labour councillor and long-time colleague Donald Reid told the Times: "I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of Ian Clarkson after a 25-year friendship which was both personal and political. 

"In an unusual turn of events in 2002, Ian had been selected for a change of seat, leaving Kilwinning Whitehirst and moving to Ward 2 Irvine.

"I had been selected to replace him as the Labour candidate for ward 12 in May 2003. In the interim a by-election was called in October 2002 and Ian supported me fully to be elected in that by-election for ward 2, Townhead and Drybridge. 

Irvine Times: Provost Clarkson

"Ian took me under his wing in those early council days, offering advice and support whenever needed. This lasted throughout until illness forced Ian's retiral from the council just last year. 

"Prior to this Ian and I had developed the Kilwinning Carnival, Kilwinning adopting a Town Crier, and Christmas Lights, along with John Jamieson bringing a live TV broadcast on the evening news to the town.

"The true highlight was the Town Crier Championships, which brought thousands of visitors to Kilwinning. 

"Constituents of Kilwinning still refer to the period Ian Clarkson was the councillor and how he had helped or guided them. 

"Ian will be a big loss to our community and his family especially. I extend my sympathies to his wife Liz and the family at this difficult time."

Announcing his retirement last year, Provost Clarkson said: "It is with the greatest of regret that due to ill health, I am unable to put my name forward for reselection, for the council election in May. 

"It has been a great privilege and pleasure, challenging and worthwhile, serving individuals and communities of North Ayrshire, in various positions, over the past 27 years. 

"I wish to thank all the officers within the council, who have been on this fantastic journey with me. " 

At that time, Labour group leader, Joe Cullinane said: “It is very sad that Ian’s public service is coming to an end due to ill health. 

"He has represented his community for many years, helping thousands of local people along the way. He will be missed by many constituents and groups as their local councillor. 

"He has been an excellent Provost over the last five and a half years and I hope he is remembered for the contribution he made in the role.” 

Our thoughts are with his wife Liz and his family.