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The former Lord-Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute, Patrick Stewart CVO, MBE, told the Courier he is ‘humbled’ to have received the highest honour Argyll and Bute Council can bestow, in recognition of decades of service to the community.
Mr Stewart is to be awarded the freedom of Argyll and Bute, a mainly symbolic honour founded in historical traditions, which is granted to persons of distinction or who have given particular service.
In his role as a solicitor in the Campbeltown-based family firm of Stewart, Balfour and Sutherland, Mr Stewart developed particular expertise in a number of legal issues significant to Argyll and Bute, including agriculture, forestry, company law and the marine environment.
His reputation as an expert advocate for the fishing industry and his roles as secretary to the Clyde Fishermen’s Association and a director of the Scottish Fishermen’s Association saw him awarded the MBE for his services to the industry in 2000.
Mr Stewart’s long history of involvement with the voluntary sector in Argyll and Bute includes 10 years as chairman of the Argyll and Bute Trust, providing funding support for young people pursuing academic and general development.
He has also worked closely with many voluntary organisations in Kintyre, including the Campbeltown and Kintyre Development Trust, Kintyre Round Table and Campbeltown Sea Cadets.
Mr Stewart retired from the Lieutenancy role on his 75th birthday in 2020, after 33 years of service to the Lieutenancy of Argyll and Bute.
Following his retirement, he was appointed a Companion of the Royal Victorian Order, an award made at the personal behest of the Queen to mark dedicated personal service.
‘I’m greatly honoured and quite humbled by the freedom of Argyll and Bute award,’ said Mr Stewart.
‘I am particularly honoured because this is an honour from my “ain folk”. Other honours I have received have been at national level, but it is really extraordinary to receive an honour from representatives of Argyll and Bute.
‘The work I have done in Campbeltown over the last 50 years has been carried out not just from a sense of duty but because I feel motivated to do it. We live in a community where many people give help and it would have been quite awful not to join in, but I did so willingly.
‘It’s given me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction to have done so over these years and, indeed, it is a strong tradition of the Stewart family in Campbeltown, from my grandfather’s day to this, and I’m very pleased it has been recognised in this way.
‘It is a recognition not just of my work but everyone’s, particularly my wife, Mary Anne, who herself works extremely hard in the voluntary sector, presently chairing Kintyre Food Bank.’
Council leader Robin Currie added: ‘Mr Stewart has given decades of service to the local community, the Lieutenancy of Argyll and Bute and to HM The Queen.
‘The award of freedom of Argyll and Bute is well deserved and will be warmly welcomed by all those who have worked with him and been supported by him.
‘That dedication has already been recognised with a personal award from the Queen and seen him play a key role in major cultural and economic issues, locally, nationally and internationally.
‘Despite his final year as Lord-Lieutenant being marked by the pandemic, Mr Stewart brought the same level of hard work, dedication and sense of duty throughout those difficult times to his role in serving our community.’