Tributes paid to SNP stalwart and former Buchan councillor

Tributes have been paid to former councillor for Peterhead South and Cruden Stuart Pratt, who died on Thursday.

Stuart Pratt with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at an event in 2017 to mark his service as a local councillor.
Stuart Pratt with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at an event in 2017 to mark his service as a local councillor.

Stuart was first elected to Banff and Buchan District Council in 1988 serving Meethill-Glandaveny and was elected to Aberdeenshire Council in 1995, latterly representing Peterhead South and Cruden until the 2017 election.

Stuart was also a stalwart of the Scottish National Party, serving as Constituency Organiser for many years, overseeing the successful election campaign to win back Banff and Buchan for the SNP in 1987, and went on to be a Parliamentary Election Agent for Alex Salmond and Stewart Stevenson, making him the most successful Election Agent in the history of the SNP.

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Outside of political service, Stuart was heavily involved in his home community of New Pitsligo and was a Captain in the local Boys’ Brigade and was Session Clerk at his local church. Having stepped-down from his work with the Boys’ Brigade after 40 years, Stuart was presented with a ‘Pride of Buchan Award’ by Aberdeenshire Council just last month.

Former Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said: “Stuart’s life was marked by community service. Outside politics he served as Session Clerk in his local church congregation for many years and gave over 40 years as a Boys’ Brigade leader. Under a taciturn exterior he had a kind and generous heart and was committed to the common good.”

Former Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “Stuart made an immeasurable contribution to everything in which he was involved. The extent to which it was he who put in place the foundations of the modern SNP in the North-east cannot be overstated.

“Stuart was a big man, with a big heart who made a big impact on people’s lives. He will be sorely missed by many, many people but particularly his friends in the SNP.”

In a Tweeted tribute, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “So very sad to hear the news of Stuart Pratt’s death. Long time SNP councillor, election agent extraordinaire, lifelong campaigner for Independence, and the loveliest, gentlest giant of a man. Aberdeenshire’s finest. Rest in Peace Stuart.”

Peterhead South and Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith added:

“I’m incredibly sad at the news of Stuart’s passing. Stuart and I represented the same Ward for 10 years from 2007 and I could have had no better introduction to how to be an effective councillor than the advice and support I received from Stuart.

“Around the same time, I took over from Stuart as Constituency Organiser and Election Agent in Banff and Buchan as his talents were required elsewhere. While my track record was much more modest than his, everything I learned about political organisation, I learned from Stuart. His loss will be keenly-felt across the SNP and my condolences to his family at this time.”