TRIBUTES have been paid to a pioneering music manager from Largs who worked with the cream of the pop music industry.

Largs man Stewart Grant has passed away after a short illness at the age of 74.

The local great grandfather looked after Gallagher and Lyle and three-time Grammy Award nominee Joan Armatrading.

Stewart worked with many big names in the music industry, including Willie Nelson, Chris De Burgh, Barbara Dickson, Toyah and Amy McDonald.

He built and opened Haylie Stores in Largs before becoming an administrator for the Millport Elderly Forum, arranging grants to help vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Stewart was one of a family of six and loved music from an early age. He joined friends in setting up Peabroch, which later became well-known local band Chanty Dyke.

The former Largs Primary and High School pupil attended James Watt College to become a telephone engineer but his skills soon saw him headhunted by audio giant Phillips.

Sister Maggie Kinloch, former deputy principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: "Music underpinned Stewart's life.

"He played the 12 string guitar brilliantly, record it on a Phillips four-track tape recorder then play it back and dissect it.

"Electronics and sound were always his thing.

"Although he didn't go on to be a personal musician in his own right, he was one of the best sound engineers in the land. Joan Armatrading and Graham Lyle will tell you that."

Stewart married first wife Ann in 1968 and they had three children, Saul, Jamie and Leon.

In 1972, Stewart became Gallagher and Lyle's sound engineer and manager. With the success of their Breakaway album in 1975, he toured with them in UK, Europe and USA.

Stewart parted from Ann but continued to work and stay in London.

After the break-up of Gallagher and Lyle in 1980, Stewart ran a company called 'Ask Tam' which rented out sound equipment to other bands.

Stewart returned to live in Largs and married Margot at the Seamill Hydro in 1999. The couple ran Haylie Stores for a number of years, before moving to the Isle of Cumbrae.

Stewart worked at the Cumbrae Watersports Centre before becoming administrator for the Board of Trustees of the Millport Elderly Forum, which is now the Millport Forum.

Margot said: "It was a job which Stewart loved - he enjoyed nothing more than being able to help people.

"He even got permission from Mark Knopfler for the music for Local Hero for an Elderly Forum promotional video. This was a man who could happily switch from the business of the elderly forum on Cumbrae to mixing with global stars from the world of pop music.

"He enjoyed working in the charity shop and applied for grants for the group, raising thousands of pounds for them.

"While Stewart was furloughed during the pandemic, he missed the face to face contact with islanders so regularly phoned them up to see if there was anything he could help them with big or small."

He is survived by wife Margot, sons Saul, Jamie and Leon, his grandchildren and great grandson Mason.

He is also survived by brothers George and Colin, and sister Maggie.

Sadly, Stewart's time was cut short by illness and he peacefully passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

His funeral took place at the North Coast and Garnock Valley Crematorium. Joan Armatrading, pictured, and other pop royalty joined customers from his Haylie Stores days and his friends from the Isle of Cumbrae at the service.

Wife Margot said: "Stewart lived life to the full. He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye, He was loved and respected by all who knew him.

"Everyone will all miss his kindness, humour, wisdom and love.

"He was a true gentleman."