TRIBUTES have been flowing in this week after the sad passing of a “brave" and “unforgettable” former Clackmannan councillor.

Flags were lowered to half-mast at Clackmannanshire Council on Monday as a mark of respect following the death of Irene Hamilton on Friday, July 21, at the age of 56.

A councillor of 10 years and someone who touched so many lives, Irene faithfully served the community in Clackmannan from 2007 and was also selected as depute provost for a spell.

Thereafter, she became a “wonderful staffer” for Ochil and South Perthshire MP John Nicolson, who paid tribute to her extraordinary bravery as well as her “rapier wit” and “infectious giggle”.

The MP said: “I hope Irene Hamilton knew how loved she was.

“The outpouring in the days since she died is a testament to her life and how she lived it.

“Irene was fiercely political and outspoken with a deep commitment to our country’s independence.

“She loved the countryside. And she loved to photograph it – taking beautiful shots wherever she went. Nae sma feat wi ane airm.”

Indeed, the MP remarked how a few who were lucky enough would receive Irene's annual picture calendar as he shared some of his favourites.

Mr Nicolson added: “She loved gin – her own version mixed at home to a secret recipe – and she loved conversation.

“She was, as we’ve all seen over these past months, extraordinarily brave.

“But above all else she was funny, with a sharp intelligence, the blackest sense of humour and an infectious giggle. Her 'Mutley snigger' she used to call it.

“She was and is unforgettable.”

Many remarked how Irene was "one of a kind", including council leader Ellen Forson who was proud to count herself as one of Irene's many friends.

“We spent countless hours together campaigning for the SNP and for independence – a lot of it laughing thanks to Irene’s fantastic sense of humour,” Cllr Forson continued.

“There is no doubt that her kindness and thoughtfulness will be sorely missed by all who knew her.”

Clackmannan's Cllr Kathleen Martin also paid tribute.

Despite being in different parties, they often worked together to resolve issues around the town.

Cllr Martin said: "I was sorry to hear this sad news about Irene and my thoughts are with her loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

"Irene was a really decent, friendly, and kind person who worked hard in the Clacks East Ward during her time as a councillor."

Fellow Labour councillor Kenny Earle also spoke of the mutual respect they had for each other's political and personal views.

He said: "Although Irene had lost an arm she never once used this as an excuse for not being able to do things in her life. On the contrary, I believe that this disability made her even more feisty.

"She had a firm belief in independence for Scotland and we had many interesting discussions on this in the past.

"Irene had a warm manner and an incredible sense of humour and would go out of her way to help others.

"She will be sadly missed. Rest in Peace, Irene."

Irene was also a cancer survivor and was one of a trio who joined forces to raise vital funds for cancer research in 2015.

Together with Helen Roxburgh and Rosa Macpherson, they took part in the Wee County Cancer Research UK group's first ever Superhero Fun Run.

Rosa, the group's founder and a Cancer Research UK campaign ambassador for more than 10 years, is now the only remaining survivor from that trio.

Paying tribute, she said: “Irene was a very brave and determined woman, whose humour and passion brought great respect to her.”

Tributes have also been pouring in through social media with dozens on dozens of people reminiscing about great memories shared.

Indeed, Irene was well known outside the Wee County as well and was a long-time and dedicated volunteer at Bannockburn House.

On social media, Lorraine Sinclair wrote: “Gonna miss you, one of a kind truly.

"The times we spent together campaigning, Bannockburn House spooky volunteer nights, William Wallace Society, archaeological digs, open doors day etc were some of the most special times I've had.”

She added: “Your warrior heart will live on in those you loved.”