FORMER Clacks Council leader Bobby McGill passed away at his home in Coalsnaughton earlier this week.

The 65-year-old is a well-known member of the community and served as a local Labour councillor for many years, in a variety of wards.

He was first elected in 1990 for the Devonvale ward in the Central Region and then again in 1994 for Schawpark.

Though not elected in the newly-organised 1995 elections, he returned as a councillor in 1999 as the representative for the Devon and Clackmannan North area, serving again in 2003.

He was elected once more in 2007 by the current Clackmannanshire North ward, and returned again in 2012.

Bobby then narrowly missed out in 2017, following a brief spell as leader of council.

Friend and fellow councillor Derek Stewart paid his respects to Bobby's helpful and accommodating nature.

He said: "It's tragic, it really is. I was really shocked when I got the phone call; I'm still trying to get over it.

"I was speaking to him on Friday and I invited him to a meeting on Saturday. He wasn't able to make it, and that was the last time I talked to him.

"He told me he wasn't feeling well and I asked him if he made an appointment with the doctor and he just said he was feeling better. It'll be my biggest regret that I didn't ask him what was wrong with him.

Outside of politics, Bobby was involved in a lot of organisations including the local bowls club, the Coalsnaughton Gala Committee, and the retired workers union.

He helped with fundraising for the Coalsnaughton Village Hall and was an avid supporter of the Burns Club in the area.

Cllr Stewart added: "I knew Bobby for about 15 years. He was the kind of guy that you had arguments with, but never fell out.

"There might be a heated debate on something, and after it he would just say: 'Right, 'mon we'll go for a pint'.

"He had a gift; he always loved to help people. He done a lot for the community and if he could have helped you, he would have.

"Bobby loved his Burns; he must have attended about eight Burns suppers a year.

"His heart was in Coalsnaughton and for the people there, but he loved the county. He was honoured to serve as the Labour group leader; he was fair chuffed when he got that.

"He will be sadly missed; it's a big loss for Clackmannanshire."

His former colleagues at Kilncraigs also passed on their condolences.

Councillor Ellen Forson, current council leader, said: "On behalf of the SNP group, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Bobby's family and former colleagues.

"Bobby was a well-respected councillor who represented his constituents with energy and commitment. And, from conversations we had, I know he had the interests of Clackmannanshire at his heart."

A funeral service for Bobby is still to be arranged with details to be announced later this week.