Councillor Malcolm Waugh

I can’t believe i’ve never posted about well known Councillor Malcolm Waugh, so here goes.

Waugh, Councillor Malcolm – In July 2012, tributes were this paid to Malcolm Waugh, the former Blantyre councillor once known as ‘king of the roads’, who died at the age of 78 after a short illness. He earned the nickname when he was chairman of the former roads and transportation committee for both the former Strathclyde Region and later South Lanarkshire Council. He was at the helm of both committees at times when massive transport projects were under consideration. They included the St James Interchange on the M8 near Glasgow Airport, and the Larkhall Rail Link, which reopened in 2005 at a cost of £35million. He backed the rail link proposals in 1989 when, as chairman of the region’s roads and transportation committee, he was presented with a dossier in favour of the scheme by Larkhall Rotary Club.

Mr Waugh’s friend and former election agent, Stewart Thompson, said: “Malcolm was particularly proud of his part in the re-opening of the Larkhall Rail link. He used to say ‘Dr Beeching closed it and I helped to re-open it.” Hamilton South councillor Joe Lowe, a colleague of Mr Waugh’s for many years, added: “There wasn’t a road in Strathclyde that Malcolm didn’t know. If you asked him about a road, he would always go and look at it first before making a decision – and he would often take his wife Rose along with him.”

Mr Waugh was born in Blantyre, brought up there and lived there all his life. He worked as a miner before becoming a telephone engineer. His father was a Communist councillor so it was no surprise when Mr Waugh himself went into local politics. Mr Thompson was his agent when he won election to Strathclyde Regional Council in 1982, 1986 and 1990, as councillor for Bothwell, Uddingston and Blantyre. And following the reorganisation of local government in the mid-1990s, Mr Waugh was elected to the new South Lanarkshire Council as councillor for High Blantyre. “I was always flabbergasted by how well-known Malcolm was in Blantyre,” said Mr Thomson. “He couldn’t walk down the street without someone speaking to him and he had that great politicians’ knack of being able to remember names and faces.” Mr Thompson also considered his friend a pragmatist, adding: “He was one of the few politicians in the party who didn’t make enemies. He always followed the third way and practised the politics of compromise.”

Away from politics, Mr Waugh was a qualified amateur football referee, accomplished ballroom dancer and a man who “knew his way round the snooker table”. He was family man and had been married to Rose for 57 years. The couple had three children – Malcolm, Rosemary and Ann – and grandchildren Malcolm, Paul, Jacqueline Ann, Ryan, Shane, Calum, Kyle and Ross. There are also four great-grandchildren, with whom Mr Waugh loved to spend time.

With thanks to daughter Ann for arranging this photo for Blantyre Project.


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