Every town needs a community champion, and with the passing of John Robertson, Largs has lost one.

I was privileged, at his funeral service, to pay a tribute to big John, aged 80, who was a leading light in many of the town's organisations and activities for over 40 years.

John was born in Greenock on September 24, 1943 at the height of the Second World War. As an apprentice electrician he joined the Merchant Navy which took him to far-flung locations such as Rio de Janeiro, Japan and Australia.

On returning to terra firma he worked at Inverkip Power Station for a few years and, on its closure, moved to the Hunterston nuclear plant where he worked for a further 38 years, earning a reputation as a straight-talking shop steward.

He was always an activist, and was chairman of the local SNP branch at one time.

John met Elizabeth Laird at the dancing in the former Moorings ballroom at Largs Pier. He offered her a lift home in his snazzy sports car but she refused, saying she had a bus ticket. However, perseverance paid off, and they married at St Mary's Church, Greenock on April 2, 1975.

Strangely enough, they moved to their first home in School Street, Largs which was exactly opposite to where he died, in the new St Colm's sheltered houses, on February 1.

On the day the family asked me to give a tribute I opened this newspaper to find a picture of him from 1991. He was among the townspeople pictured on the shore, where he had taken part in the successful protest which stopped the council extending the car park opposite Nardini's. He was the only one in a suit and a collar and tie...a man after my own heart.

I regarded us as kindred spirits and sparring partners as we both came to the town at the same time and, in my 40 years as editor, we 'ganged thegither', as Rabbie Burns put it.

I enjoyed John's company as I wrote about his active involvement as community council chairman, campaigner and genuine do-gooder whether it was Business Club president, Horticultural Society president, Probus Club official and many more.

In an interview John said: "I'm keen to promote the town, its people and the community"...and that coming from a Greenockian!

Elizabeth reminded me that although John never played a musical instrument in his life, he set up the Largs Music Club in a local pub. In his latter years he was proud that his four grandsons, Rhys, Aiden, Adam and Elliot learned to play the bagpipes and drums.

In a touching scenario, Rhys joined his piping tutor Ben Deuchar in playing at the funeral for his beloved Papa.

John and I also teamed up as co-ordinators of the Brisbane Queen Festival in the 1980s, continuing into the early noughties where, in truth, I was the sub-lieutenant to his commander.

He was always so assured and positive, whether it was organising an open air fun day on Broomfields shore, or having the Queens turn up to the crowning ceremony in a Rolls Royce, driven by his sister June.

I recall a Provost saying to her: "How long have you been a chauffeur?" She replied: "I'm no chauffeur. I'm June and I'm John's sister. This is my Rolls Royce." John knew how to use his connections.

Our most significant achievement was to arrange for four of the festival Queens to travel to Brisbane, Australia to represent the town.

John was a force of energy and, of course, you cannot destroy energy; it just takes another form. As the Rev Dr Graham McWilliams said, at the crematorium service, he has gone into the light. That's exactly my belief. We'll meet again, old friend.

He is survived by wife Elizabeth, daughters Julie and Mairi, his four grandsons, sister June and brother Ted.

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Thought for the Week: Live every day as if it's your last. One day you'll be right.

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Many people I speak to haven't a clue who to vote for at the forthcoming General Election, because all political parties seem to be incompetent clones, full of hot air about how they're going to improve our lives.

Take the position on oil and gas fields in Scotland. The Greens want to close them all down tomorrow. The SNP keep talking about a "just transition" to renewables, which is nothing more than a meaningless throwaway phrase. Unless they mean a transition over the next 50 years.

Keir Starmer, who faces both ways at the same time, has now stated that oil and gas production is for "decades to come". Fair enough but if my arithmetic is correct it will ensure we don't reach the unrealistic "net zero" by 2050.

He says Labour will increase the windfall tax on North Sea companies from 75 per cent to 78 percent. Amazingly, Humza Useless opposes increased taxes, claiming,  without reason, that it will cost 100,000 jobs.

It's an incoherent, contradictory position for the SNP who keep claiming the workers will move into renewable industry as they leave fossil fuels.

We even have the giant energy firms warning that another 3 per cent take from their £33 BILLION annual profits mean they'll have to sack thousands of jobs. Somehow I don't think so, particularly with permission to open up new gas and oil fields.

So, who do you vote for when you don't know who to believe?