SCOTLAND'S last Communist councillor, who worked hard representing Ballingry for 43 years, died on Wednesday and tributes have poured in for him.

Willie Clarke worked as a brusher in the coal industry and was first elected as an NUM official for the local branch of Glencraig Colliery in 1960 and continued through until the pits closure in 1966.

Having transferred to Seafield Colliery, Willie took up the position of NUM branch secretary from 1966 up until 1978 after being elected onto the Scottish Area NUM executive committee in 1977. He held this post until coal industry redundancy in 1987.

All through that period he represented the miners union collectively at pits all over Scotland and individually in relation to tribunals for injury and pension claims. During the 1984/85 strike Willie travelled all over the UK talking in support of the miners struggle with the Thatcher Government including several European nations and was a leading member on the Dysart strike committee.

Along with others Willie set up the first community credit union in Fife and was proud to be its chairman as well. Having the new Meadows country park centre named after him gave him a real sense of pride and he saw the “Meedies” as an unfinished project having the biggest footfall in Fife and Willie had been involved in the Meadows advisory since its inception.

Willie never tired of talking of his pride in the voluntary workers who have made the credit union the success it is today. That pride extended to all the local people who took part in the various organisations now peppered around Benarty and the fantastic work these people do for the amazing events in the Benarty community.

Willie was awarded “The Freedom of Fife” in 2016 by Fife Council in recognition and respect of the work put in over the years for the community.

Willie was a devoted family man, wife to Betty and a loving father to William, Eddie, James, Steven, Gary, John and Robert and grandfather and great grandfather.

Willie's funeral is to take place on Wednesday, November 13, with a service at noon at Lochore Miners Institute and at 1pm internment at Ballingry Cemetery.