Tom Dair death: Tributes to former councillor and Fife Convenor

Tributes have been paid to former Fife Council convener and long-standing councillor Tom Dair.

By Craig Smith
Monday, 6th December 2021, 11:29 am
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 12:05 pm
Tom Dair
Tom Dair

Mr Dair, who hailed from Cowdenbeath and served there as a Labour councillor for 35 years, was convener of Fife Council from 2001 to 2003 and his passing on November 10 has attracted messages of condolence.

Fife Provost Jim Leishman led the tributes on behalf of Fife Council during this week’s full council meeting, with many elected members going on to attend Mr Dair’s funeral in person on Thursday.

Former Prime Minister and MP for the Dunfermline East constituency, Gordon Brown, commented: “We mourn the loss of Tom Dair who served Cowdenbeath and Fife for over 35 years as a councillor.

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“His passion was the education of Fife’s young people and he raised standards and opportunities for all children when as chairman of Education he drove the new build and refurbishment of schools across the region, all of which saw Fife having the highest standards of education in Scotland and indeed across the UK.”

Fife MSP Alex Rowley, who served with Mr Dair on Fife Council for many years, said: “It was his belief that every child must get a fair chance, that I remember way back when I first knew him almost 40 years ago, and his passion put Fife as a leader in so many fronts, like free nursery education sitting alongside at that time with the very best youth and community services.

“He was also behind many developments such as Lochore Meadows Country Park, which he ensured was an education facility offering outdoor education to Fife youngsters.

“He worked in the pits and was a successful mining engineer in his own right, but sitting alongside that, he also had a distinguished political career spanning decades that touched so many lives in Fife and his legacy continues to this day.”

An apprentice mining engineer, Mr Dair started his career at the Central Workshops before working in Fordell Colliery until it closed. He subsequently moved to Comrie Colliery and was very much involved with the industry until the miners’ strike came to an end in the mid-80s.

In terms of local democracy, Mr Dair served on the old Cowdenbeath Town Council from 1972, before the Regional and District Council era began, where he was Dean of Guild for some time.

In 1974 he was elected to Fife Regional Council where he became education convener, a position he was to hold for many years.

Mr Dair was also a regular at Central Park to watch his beloved Cowdenbeath FC.

Indeed, Mr Dair would have celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary with wife Helen on December 22 and often used to joke about being glad he missed Cowden’s 4-1 loss to St Johnstone because of his wedding day back in 1956.

Cowdenbeath also paid tribute to Mr Dair in their matchday programme, adding: “The Toon council, the fitba, the Store, the Workshops, his family, the pits – you couldn’t get anyone more steeped in Cowdenbeath than Tam.

“It was a privilege to know him and we will all miss Tam Dair – a true son of Cowdenbeath.”