Alex Salmond in moving tribute to former colleague

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has paid a moving tribute to his long time friend and election agent Stuart Pratt.

Alex Salmond described Stuart as a special agent rather than an election agent in a moving tribute.
Alex Salmond described Stuart as a special agent rather than an election agent in a moving tribute.

Delivering the eulogy to Stuart at his funeral service in New Pitsligo Parish Kirk the former First Minister said: “I first met Stuart Pratt in the autumn of 1984 when I was but one of six hopefuls asked to speak at the first of many meetings to decide who was to become SNP candidate for Banff and Buchan.

“As I was speaking I was aware of one burly loon sitting in the second row and I spent some time pondering whether he was favourable to me or not. It was totally impossible to tell. He was completely inscrutable.

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“After the meeting the same young man approached me for a word and it was still impossible to tell if he was favourable since I couldn’t understand all that much of Stuart’s fast Pitsligo Doric.

"But I did gather that he wanted to take me on a tour of the smaller groups in the constituency in New Deer, Lonmay and Gardenstown.

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“On that trip we struck up a friendship which has lasted almost 40 years and a partnership which was one of the most successful ever in Scottish politics - 10 election campaigns and nine victories.

“When Stuart and I started out on that journey 38 years ago I was a candidate and we had but one councillor in the consistency - Brian Topping. The journey climaxed with me as First Minister and Stuart part of the administration of Aberdeenshire Council led by Provost Hamish Vernal , Richard Thomson and Stephen Smith. None of that, not one single bit of it, would have happened without the contribution of this remarkable man - Stuart Pratt.

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Most of us here will have a memory of Stuart, a favourite story to tell and I am grateful to those who have shared theirs with me. In fact many of the most special memories are shared by all of us, no less special but shared. But how do you sum up the work, the friendship, the commitment to this church, to the Boys Brigade, to this community and above all, like a saltire running through a stick of Pitsligo rock, to his country - above all to Scotland?

“When you really consider it the answer is obvious. Stuart Wallace Pratt - a life of total commitment to community and to country. That is no mean legacy and nae bad as an epitaph.”