Bill could light up a room – once literally!

Former councillor Bill Lamb, who died last week, aged 81.
Former councillor Bill Lamb, who died last week, aged 81.

Tributes are being paid to former Scottish Borders councillor Bill Lamb following his death last week.

Mr Lamb, who looked after several areas of his home town of Galashiels over his 35 years of public service, died at the age of 81 at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose following a long illness.

As quick with a smile as he was with a retort, Bill was passionate about making improvements to his home town of Galashiels, even after he retired in 2007.

As well as being a councillor, Bill was Scottish correspondent for the World Fair magazine for 45 years, covering shows, circus and fairs, and was a proud defender of the annual funfair being situated in the town’s public park during the annual Galashiels Braw Lads’ Gathering.

He was also an advocate for premises in the centre of town to be occupied by retail businesses and hated it when any lay empty.

Once, when there were five empty shops on one side of Channel Street alone, he said: “This dereliction harms the public perception of a good shopping area.”

Bill held several portfolio posts during the time the Liberal Democrats were in power at the council, including leading its planning and licensing committees.

Melrose and Leaderdale councillor David Parker, convener of Scottish Borders Council, said: “Bill was an elected member for more than 30 years, representing a number of wards in the Galashiels area.

“Bill was a colourful character renowned for his brightly-coloured ties and suits, and at the final Christmas council meeting before he retired he even wore a light-up jacket.

“He was passionate about funfairs and the circus and held a number of roles within the council, including chairing the planning committee and looking after licensing.

“Bill retired in 2007 after a long career in local government.

“On behalf of the council, I would like to pass on my condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Former council leader John Ross Scott told us: “Bill was a great guy and a stalwart member of the Liberal Democrats group on the council, and he was liked and respected by everyone.

“My lasting memory of Bill was getting a lift from him to Glasgow. He was a travelling salesman and the car was full of saddles and lampshades.”

And former Southern Reporter journalist Mark Entwistle told us: “By the time I joined the editorial staff of the Southern Reporter in 1987, Bill had already been a councillor for 15 years.

He had a vast knowledge of local government and was always passionate when it came to defending the interests of his home town of Galashiels and the wider Borderland.

“I always found Bill unfailingly helpful and never less than kind whenever I needed to speak to him for a story for the paper.

“He never dodged any of my questions over the years and always gave a comment – even when he knew it would draw flak from other political quarters.

“Galashiels and the Borders will be a poorer place with his passing.”

A memorial service will be held at noon tomorrow at Trinity Church in Galashiels, followed by interment at Eastlands Cemetery in Tweed Road.