Veteran SNP activist dies at 94
Apolitical campaigner who helped set up the Fraserburgh SNP branch has died at the age of 94. Robert Ritchie, known to most as Bob, was a founding member of the party’s Fraserburgh branch and honorary president of the branch in Peterhead.
Mr Ritchie had campaigned across the north-east since the 1960s for the SNP and, at one time, just missed out on standing for a seat – which was decided on a coin toss.
He instead acted as the party’s election agent in the 1964 general election – the first year the SNP stood for a Buchan constituency.
Last night Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson paid tribute to Mr Ritchie, who he presented with a life membership at 91.
Mr Stevenson said: “Bob was a stalwart of the SNP in Buchan for decades and an inspiration to many activists.
“Bob holds a place in history as the first ever SNP election agent in this area when the party decided to contest the old east Aberdeenshire seat at the 1964 election.
“Bob tells a story that he narrowly avoided being the candidate at that election because he won the toss of a coin and chose to be the agent. At that 1964 election, the SNP got 6% of the vote and 1,900 votes.
“It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of people like Bob in those early days that the party was able to put down such solid foundations to build on locally.
“I had the pleasure of presenting Bob with lifetime membership of the party a few years ago and enjoyed his reminiscences about past election campaigns.
“He will be missed by everyone in the SNP and my thoughts are with his wife Beatrice and family at this time.”
In his Press and Journal column in 2015, Alex Salmond wrote of Mr Ritchie: “Describing Bob as a stalwart doesn’t actually give him the full credit he is due.
“Bob has been campaigning for the SNP even before we were able to field candidates in the north-east of Scotland.”
Mr Ritchie, who worked for General Motors in Peterhead, died on September 21 at Peterhead Community Hospital.
He is survived by his wife Beatrice Rae, sons Niall and Iain, daughters-in-law Aileen and Sheila as well as grandchildren Elena, Ailsa, Grant and Gavin.
STALWART: Stewart Stevenson and Bob Ritchie