The late Bobby Rae who served as Provost of North Ayrshire is to have a memorial bench at Aubery in Largs which is fittingly close by to where he used to live.

The 'News' can reveal that it is set to be the last memorial bench in the town, as there is no more room for further benches due to the limit now being reached with the council citing the area's popularity as a seaside resort as the reason behind the large number of requests over the years.

Bobby served as SNP councillor in North Ayrshire Council for many years, and was elevated to the position of Provost in 2007 - a role he fulfilled for two and a half years before having to step down due to illness. He had been a huge figure in the political party in Largs going back decades.

Bobby sailed around the world with the Merchant Navy, and had many tales to tell from his seafaring days.

Bobby worked for Shell in Glasgow and, in early retirement, was elected as the first SNP councillor in North Ayrshire over 20 years ago.

Bobby's wife Joan said: "The seat is at a nice position overlooking the Clyde and it is very appropriate for Bobby. It will take a few weeks for the seat to be renovated and the new plaques to be put on. I contacted North Ayrshire Council chief executive Elma Murray about it, and fortunately there was a bench area available, and with the position of it facing the sea, and Bobby's Merchant Navy links, it was kind of meant."

For years he was the only Nationalist councillor, representing Largs and Millport, but as his party grew in support he was appointed Provost after the 2007 elections, and it came down to the cut of the cards as he selected an Ace card.

As Provost, Bobby was invited to serve many events around the district, including welcoming Princess Anne to Largs on a prestigious visit to the Scottish Sailing Institute to visit the RYA Volvo Youth National Championships in 2009.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We were happy to accommodate a request from Mr Rae’s wife, Joan, for a memorial plaque to be attached to a bench overlooking the Firth of Clyde in memory of the former Provost. We hope that this will bring the family some comfort as they remember his life and legacy.”

The plaque is being installed on an existing bench which is being taken away to be refurbished and returned with plaque attached.

It is the end of an era though for memorial benches in the North Coast and Cumbraes area as no more are to be permitted in future.

The council website stated: "We consider all requests to install a memorial bench, or to affix a plaque to an existing bench. There may be instances where we may not be able to fulfil some requests due to local factors. We are sorry to advise that we are no longer able to add new benches to the North Coast area, which includes: Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride, Skelmorlie, and Cumbrae.

"No new memorial benches are permitted in any cemetery in North Ayrshire. We are, however, able to install plaques to existing benches in these locations."

A NAC spokesman explained to the 'News' that the reason why memorial benches have come to a stop is due to 'over-provision'.

He said: "We don't know exactly when the last bench was installed but it has not been recent.

"It was back in 2016 when it reached the North Coast area reached its limit due to over provision as there had been a large number of requests particularly because Largs and Millport areas attract a lot of visitors, whilst there are also ongoing maintenance costs which have to be considered too."

While the benches have reached their limit in the North Coast and Garnock Valley area too, there are still memorial benches available in Arran, and elsewhere in North Ayrshire. For more details, go to