Tributes paid to a champion of youth

Jim Lewis
Jim Lewis

Tributes have been paid to one of the region’s most respected public figures, former district councillor Jim Lewis, who has died at the age of 91.

He passed away at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital on July 9, two weeks before his 92nd birthday.

Born in the Rhondda Valley in Wales and later brought up in London, Jim, like many of his generation, was drafted into service in the British Army in World War Two, and by 1943 he had volunteered for a special regiment in Burma called the Chindits.

They would go down in history as a legendary military fighting unit but lost half of their number in the course of the campaign.

Following the end of the war, Jim worked for a time for the Ministry of Defence before joining the professional youth service in Manchester and Liverpool.

Jim will be best remembered by many for his long and distinguished service to youth development across the region.

Having lost his own youth to war, he was to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of future generations of young people. In 1965, he became general secretary of the Fife Union of Youth Clubs and later was appointed area youth and community organiser for Glenrothes and Levenmouth, a post he held until his retirement in 1988.

Late in his career, he was honoured for his service to the community when appointed a Justice of the Peace, and was elected as a local Labour councillor in the old Kirkcaldy District Council, a post he held for two terms.

Cutting a dash in deer-stalker hat, bow tie, twill and tweed, and speaking in a plum and proper English accent, he was an instantly recognisable figure in everything he did.

After retirement he continued his contribution to public life and was involved in voluntary organisations, including the NHS patients’ forum, right up until his 90th birthday.