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Bench dedicated to people of Paisley in memory of late councillor Jim Mitchell

A WOODEN bench which has been created in memory of a much-loved councillor has been dedicated to the people of Paisley.

SNP stalwart Jim Mitchell passed away in January 2011 after serving for 34 years as a councillor.

Mr Mitchell’s eldest daughter Karen, 38, was joined at the dedication ceremony by her daughter Heather, 13, mum Cathy and other members of the family, alongside representatives from all of Renfrewshire’s political parties.

The wooden bench has been placed outside Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters, in Cotton Street, Paisley.

Karen said: “The bench has been donated by our family for the people of Paisley. My dad would have liked that as he undertook his duties as a councillor not for any notoriety, but purely for his love of the town, and for helping people.

“My dad was very proud of Paisley and I think it is such a fitting tribute to him that many Paisley people will enjoy a wee seat on this bench, where they will be able to admire the surrounding gardens, as well as enjoying the view of Paisley’s beautiful historic buildings, including the mills, Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Abbey.

“My only request to those who sit on the bench is that they read the plaque and smile when they think of him.”

The plaque on the bench reads ‘A True People’s Champion, in memory of Councillor Jim Mitchell.’

Paisley MSP George Adam said: “I think this bench is a fitting tribute to someone who had such a profound effect on politics in Renfrewshire.

“It’s outside a building where he spent 34 years of his working life and it is a reminder of the impact that Jimmy Mitchell had on politics.

“To me, he was a father-figure and he is profoundly missed. I dedicated my opening speech at the Scottish Parliament to Jimmy, for all that he’d done and everything he taught me.”

Brian Lawson, who spent many years working alongside Mr Mitchell as a SNP councillor, added: “Karen approached us about this bench and, given that Jimmy had spent his life here in the council buildings, we thought it would be appropriate to have it placed outside.

“I’ll remember him every time I go past it.”

Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek Mackay, who is a former leader of Renfrewshire Council and is now Minister for Local Government and Planning, was among those who spoke at the ceremony to unveil the bench.

He said: “I’ve not met anybody else in politics who did so much for such a long time. Jimmy gave up his job as a joiner to work full-time as a councillor which, in those days, only paid a pittance.

“It’s so appropriate that Jimmy’s bench is where it is because it’s at the heart of Paisley and at the heart of the council and that’s where Jimmy’s heart was.”

Iain Ramsay, from the 1820 Society, of which Mr Mitchell was an honorary president, also paid tribute to him at the ceremony.

Karen is keen to thank Renfrewshire Council, as well as staff at the Cardwell Garden Centre in Gourock, for their support in getting the memorial bench in place.

Text is copyright of the Paisley Daily Express and the images are courtesy of Councillor McLaren