Willie Innes: Town turns out for funeral of East Lothian Council leader

A town turned out to say goodbye to one of its own as East Lothian Council’s leader Willie Innes was laid to rest.

By Marie Sharp
Friday, 12th November 2021, 7:15 pm
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 7:15 pm

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The Labour politician died last month after a long battle with cancer and, mourners were told, worked to the end.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Prestonpans Labour Club in the rain to pay their respects.

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The late Willie Innes was hugely respected.

Current and former MSPs joined local councillors, staff and local residents for his final journey, while workmen stopped to bow their heads as the funeral procession made its way along the road.

Mr Innes, who was 70, had served as a local councillor for more than 30 years.

Originally born in Zambia, his dad William was a carpenter from Edinburgh and his mother Marion, a South African nurse.

The family moved to Scotland when Mr Innes was just eight-years-old and he joined the Royal Scots after leaving school, serving two tours in Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’.

Crowds spilled out of Prestonpans Cemetery into the street as a graveside service was held for the devoted family man.

Former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, who retired as East Lothian’s MSP earlier this year, told mourners: “Of all the politicians, local, national and international, I have worked with he was the best.

Mr Innes was described as a devoted family man who always put his wife and best friend Janis and their children and grandchildren first.

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