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The convenor of the Argyll and Bute SNP Constituency Association died suddenly last weekend, while chairing the group’s monthly online meeting.
John MacMillan died last Sunday afternoon during the meeting which was held via web conferencing platform Zoom.
Local SNP MSP Michael Russell said: ‘All of us who were present at the meeting, and I am sure the wider community as well, are feeling an overwhelming sense of shock and disbelief. Obviously all our thoughts are with his widow, Anne, at this time and our hearts go out to her given the tremendous loss she has suffered.
‘John had spoken on the phone with many of us over the last few days and had just made opening remarks to the meeting but despite the immediate actions that Anne took and the rapid medical attention from local paramedics in Ballachulish he was not able to be revived.
‘John was a lifelong supporter of independence and after a highly successful business career he retired to spend more time on the things that really mattered to him – his life with Anne, his beloved Highlands and the SNP.
‘He had been active in a number of branches, including Oban, and became vice convenor of the constituency some years ago. He was elected to the chair only last autumn but quickly made a mark on all our activities.
‘He had ambitious plans for the local SNP and just after Christmas he and I discussed a range of fundraising and other events that would have taken us through to the 2021 election.
‘The implementation of the Covid-19 lockdown prevented all that coming to fruition but he rapidly instituted monthly Zoom constituency meetings, encouraged branches to keep active, took charge of the current Holyrood candidate selection process and made sure the constituency association kept functioning.
‘Working closely with him as the constituency MSP, I was always grateful for his attention to detail. He made sure that the local party organisation was well managed and focused on achieving independence and I only wish he was going to be with us to see that job completed.
‘John will be greatly missed by me and by many as a valued colleague and a friend.’