FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has paid tribute to long-serving SNP Councillor Alex McLean of Largs who died last week.

Mr Salmond said:“My deepest condolences go to Alex’s wife, Grace, and to all of his family and friends at this very sad time. I know that Alex will be sorely missed in the local community he worked so hard to represent, and by everyone who knew him.” When Alex, who grew up in Largs, was aged 22 he was elected as one of Scotland’s youngest members with the town council. Aged 68, he worked in procurement with IBM.

Very saddened His fellow SNP councillor Alan Hill stated: “I am very saddened by Alex’s passing. He had fought heroically for months against what he knew was a terminal illness; striving to reach referendum day.

“Despite being in pain he continued to carry out his duties as a North Coast councillor almost until the end. He will be sadly missed by his wife, family and all of us in the SNP, to which he devoted much of his life.” North Ayrshire Councillor Leader, Willie Gibson, said: ‘‘I worked with Alex for a relatively short time but always found him to be a committed councillor who had the interests of the local people he served at heart.

‘‘A good example of that commitment was that, despite his illness, he made the effort to attend a meeting of the council just two weeks ago because the important local issue of education in Largs was up for discussion. He will be sadly missed by all of his council colleagues and friends.’’ Chief Executive Elma Murray said: ‘‘On behalf of everyone in the council I would wish to extend my condolences to Councillor McLean’s family at this sad time.’’ A funeral service will be held at Clark Memorial Church on Monday at 10.45am.