THE Wee County's very own Game of Thrones star, who never forgot his roots, has sadly passed away last week following a period of illness.

Born in Sauchie in 1953, John Stahl would go on to play Lord Rickard Karstark in the popular HBO television series but will also be remembered for his roles in many theatrical productions.

The accomplished actor, who reportedly took summer work at the former Carsebridge distillery in Alloa while he received classical training at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, passed away on the Isle of Lewis last Wednesday, March 2.

Stahl, who is understood to have changed his name from Steele as there was already an actor with the same surname but kept the pronunciation, initially rose to prominence as Tom Inverdarroch Kerr, a recurring character in the British soap Take the High Road.

And while he went on to do great things on the silver screen, friends and family in the Wee County feel he remained a Sauchie lad at heart.

Senga Awlson, the actor's cousin and former chair at the Alman Dramatic Club in Alloa, said: “The thing about John is that he never forgot his roots in Sauchie.”

Indeed, just a few years ago in 2018, Stahl visited Alloa to help the club's fundraising efforts to refurbish the Coach House Theatre for two personal appearances.

Gerry Docherty, current chair at the Alman, spoke of the acting legacy John leaves behind.

He said: “He was a larger-than-life character who could turn his hand to virtually any role, which made him a very adaptable person both on stage and telly.

“The thing we all should remember is he never gave up trying, expected to have the career which he did have.

“He had a lovely sense of humour and no great inflated sense of himself – he was a feet-on-the-ground man.”

The actor, who studied at Alloa Academy as he grew up, discovered a love for acting at the age of 12 and went a long way from his launching pad – the Deerpark Youth Theatre.

The 68-year-old's stellar career has seen him filming with Danny Boyle, working with Johnny Lee Miller and also Benedict Cumberbatch.

On stage, Holby City, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Macbeth, We the People and Troilus and Cressida are just a handful of the things John has starred in.

He has played for the National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Scotland, toured the world with international productions including the famous NTS play, Black Watch, but will forever be associated with his appearances over two series in Game of Thrones.