Vet­eran SNP ac­tivist dies at 94

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - OBITUARIES -

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

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