Goodbye to a true public servant - Fife councillors’ tributes

Willie Aitken
Willie Aitken

Former Labour Councillor Willie Aitken, who served the people of Cardenden and Kinglassie tirelessly for almost four decades, has died at the age of 83.

He was councillor for Kinglassie and Cardenden from 1970 until 2007, when ill health forced him to stand down.

Margot Doig

Margot Doig

He served on Fife County Council, Kirkcaldy District Council, and latterly Fife Council and is being remembered as “a dedicated servant of the people” and “a true gentleman”.

The former miner was a committed and unashamed socialist who lived by the principles of fairness, equality and had a keen interest in workers’ rights.

He was immensely proud of his time on the council, and lived and breathed local politics for most of his life.

Although he could probably have risen higher through the ranks to national politics, he was happy serving his local community.

Born in Dundonald in October 1933, Willie was the sixth of nine children.

On leaving school at 14, he immediately went to work at Kinglassie Pit, where he stayed until it closed in 1966. He then went to Seafield in Kirkcaldy, where he stayed until the pit closed after the miners’ strike.

He was a staunch Trade Unionist, who never broke a strike.

Willie met his beloved wife Isobel at a dance, and they married in Cupar in July 1958. They went on to have two children, Linda and Billy and spent all their married life in Kinglassie, living at their home in Mina Crescent for 50 years.

Former councillor Fraser Ballantyne who served alongside Willie for 23 years, described him as “a kind-hearted gentleman.

“He was one of an old breed of councillors who lived to serve their communities and he attended every committee he was on without fail,” he said.

“He took on people’s problems and even if there was a negative response he would go and tell them. He never shirked his responsibilities.

“He was a great planning officer and always stuck up for what he believed in. If he thought the planning officials were wrong he told them!

“He never held a grudge against anyone and would go out of his way to help you if he could.”

Margot Doig, a former councillor who served alongside Willie in Cardenden, added: “I remember Willie with great affection and respect. He was my partner in crime!

“He always had time for his constituents and was a great help to me when I joined Kirkcaldy District Council in 1990.

“He was famous in the Town House for his ‘caustic’ remarks and did not suffer fools gladly He was a very generous man, and good fun to be around.

“He’ll be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.”