Obituary: Ian Berry, former councillor, 80

Ian Berry. Picture: Toby Williams
Ian Berry. Picture: Toby Williams
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Tributes have been paid to former councillor Ian Berry, who has died at the age of 80.

Serving his constituents for 30 years, Ian was a Conservative councillor between 1977 and 2007, first with Lothian Regional Council and then for City of Edinburgh Council. In 2006 he was made an MBE for his services to local government in Edinburgh.

Born in Portobello on April 14, 1933, his father ran an ironmonger’s shop on the High Street.

After attending Holy Cross Academy in Leith, he did his national service from 1951 to 1954 in the RAF before joining his father’s business, which became known as John Berry & Son, with Ian taking over after his father’s death.

Ian was first elected to Lothian Regional Council (Portobello/Milton Division) in 1977, serving on numerous boards and committees, including the Lothian and Borders Fire Board, the Police Board and the highways committee, which he chaired from 1982-85. He was vice-convener of the council from 1985 to 1986.

In 1983, he was appointed as a justice of the peace for Edinburgh by the Secretary of State for Scotland and from 1988 to 1992 served as a magistrate in Edinburgh’s District Court.

He served on the board of the East of Scotland Water Authority from 1995 to 1999 and sat on its property committee.

While he was a regional councillor for Lothian Ian was a driving force behind the construction of the Megget Reservoir in Ettrick Forest.

Forth ward Conservative councillor Alan Jackson said: “Ian was someone you could depend on – he was very supportive of his colleagues, I could not have asked for more guidance and support.

“The most important thing for Ian was representing his constituents. When he was elected in the first Edinburgh City Council election a lot of people were agreeably surprised, as he had run against a heavyweight Labour councillor.

“It was a fantastic win and he held the seat to the end.”

In 2006, the year before Ian retired, he was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive an MBE for his services to local government in Edinburgh.

A passionate historian, Ian was a supporter of the racecourses at Musselburgh, Perth and Kelso. Also a keen golfer, he was a member of Longniddry and of the Musselburgh Golf Club at Monktonhall.

Ian was honorary vice-president of Portobello Unionist Club, a member of the board of trustees of the Portobello Branch of the Royal British Legion (Scotland) and a past chairman of the Portobello Merchants and Hoteliers ­Association.

He and his wife Sylvia were avid theatre-goers, strong supporters of the Playhouse and regular visitors to London.

Ian is survived by his wife Sylvia, daughters Veronica, Cynthia and Clarissa, and six grandchildren.