Obituary: Tom Buchanan, councillor, 55

Tom Buchanan. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Tom Buchanan. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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TOM Buchanan, the city council’s convener of economic development, has died at the age of 55 after a courageous battle with a brain tumour.

Born in Lanark, Thomas Brown Buchanan was the elder of James and Jean Buchanan’s two sons, and was brought up in Stranraer.

Tom attended Stranraer High School before moving to Edinburgh in 1978, where he gained a degree in commerce and marketing at Napier College of Commerce and Technology – now Napier University – and met Evelyn.

He studied further at Galashiels College, married Evelyn in 1984 and was later to settle in Edinburgh.

Tom would often recall his first visit to the Capital when he was a boy, the sight of the Castle persuading him to one day make Edinburgh his home.

He soon became a staunch supporter of Hearts.

Tom began his career in sales and marketing, eventually finding a niche as a business development consultant in both the public and private sector, specialising in European structural fund programmes.

In 2006, he joined the SNP and was elected councillor for the Liberton/Gilmerton ward the following year. He was immediately appointed convener of economic development in the Lib Dem/SNP administration at a crucial time as the global recession began to take hold.

The councillor dedicated much of his time to creating jobs, with a special focus on unemployed youth. With the approval of all parties, he helped set up the economic action resilience network, which helps find careers for those made redundant. He was also a member of the council’s transport, infrastructure and environment committee and the finance and resources committee.

He also served on the boards of numerous companies and projects including CEC Holdings, Waterfront Edinburgh, the Capital City Partnership, the Edinburgh Convention Bureau, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Clocktower Edinburgh and Project Edinburgh.

One of his greatest achievements was helping to bring the Green Investment Bank to Edinburgh.

In his leisure time, he enjoyed playing golf, cycling, gardening and was a big Scottish rugby fan. He firmly believed that independence would allow Scots to express their talents and make it a more successful country.

His popularity was reaffirmed when he was re-elected as SNP councillor for Liberton/Gilmerton in May last year, becoming part of the new Labour/SNP administration.

But as his health worsened, he was forced to take a back seat from politics and died last week.

Cllr Buchanan’s funeral will be held tomorrow at Rosewell Parish Church at 1pm.