Tributes paid as 94-year-old councillor bows out

Council election candidates, 24-year-old Kyle Campbell Renton and 94 year-old Donnie MacMillan, celebrate their 70 year age difference at the Argyll and Bute election count.Photo Kevin McGlynn

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Argyll and Bute will no longer be served by Britain’s oldest councillor after Mid Argyll’s Donnie MacMillan failed to secure another term.

The 94-year-old British Empire Medal holder brought an end to his long service on  Friday May 6 when the results of the local election were announced. Independent candidate and a councillor since 1995, Donnie was not one of the three winning candidates elected to the authority’s Mid Argyll ward in the polls on Thursday May 5.

Winning independent candidate, Douglas Philand, who has been on the council since 2007, paid tribute to the outgoing councillor. He said in his acceptance speech: ‘At this point it is poignant to pay tribute to Donnie for his years of service. You have been an inspiration to a lot of people and long may you keep good health.’

The most recent leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Councillor Robin Currie told the Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘Donnie will be greatly missed on the council. For many years Donnie worked tirelessly for his mid-Argyll area and was always a staunch ambassador for Argyll and Bute.’

As the results were announced on Friday, a tide of warm wishes was forthcoming on social media from the 94-year-old’s constituents.

Inveraray community councillor Linda Divers said: ‘Sorry to see Donnie go; he will be greatly missed.’ To which Donald John MacDonald replied: ‘Totally agree; it was his life.’

John Hall said: ‘Let’s hope the amazing Donnie now has some time for retirement (though I doubt it). Many thanks to him for all his great service over many years.

Meg Renton, mother of Oban North and Lorn candidate 24-year-old Kyle Campbell Renton added: ‘What a contribution Councillor Donnie MacMillan has made to Mid Argyll – an amazing gentleman.

‘Councillor MacMillan is quite simply an advocate for Mid Argyll politics; having been an independent candidate and councillor for many years – an absolute living legend.’

Speaking at the count on May 6, Donnie said that he was looking forward to spending more time in the garden and visiting his friends.

Since then, however, he has been quoted widely as saying he is keen to run again in five years’ time. The former councillor is awaiting a knee operation and claims that, when that is done, he will be fitter than many other candidates and ready to run again for office.

Donnie was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to local government in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List and had been delighted by the support he received locally, saying: ‘The fact that people went to the effort of nominating me is heart-warming and I really appreciate it.’

His affection for the people in his ward of Mid Argyll was reflected in his comments to The Argyllshire Advertiser on May 4.

He said: ‘I’ve always spent time travelling round my ward. I meet people in the street in places all over Mid Argyll. That is how I get their views.

‘I go to community councils on a regular basis, which is very useful. If I am unable to attend I make sure I get the minutes and take action directly with the council on any issues.’

He added: ‘The council must continue to work hard to encourage people to live in Argyll and Bute and to fill employment opportunities in the area. I think we should be looking after young people looking for homes and caring for people without homes.