A huge turnout is expected at Bo’ness Old Parish Church for the funeral of Charles Snedden.
Charlie, as he was known to one and all, was, to quote contemporary Tam Dalyell, a “towering figure in local government for 40 years”.
He died in Forth Valley Royal Infirmary early on Saturday, March 7, in his 83rd year. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease several years ago.
Charlie’s funeral service is today (Friday) at 1.30pm and thereafter to Bo’ness Cemetery at 2pm.
His son, also Charles, told the Journal and Gazette: “Dad had become increasingly frail and, because of the Parkinson’s Disease, was having good days and bad.
“Sadly, there were many more bad days recently and we could see he was failing.
“Losing mum last year was also a huge blow to him – as it was for us all.
“The family would like to pay tribute to the staff at Linlithgow Care Home who looked after dad since November 2013 and also the staff at Bo’ness Hospital where he spent three months before moving to Linlithgow.”
David Aitchison, chairman of Bo’ness Labour Party, said: “Charlie Snedden was a lifelong member of the Labour party who devoted himself to public service. He was a respected Bo’ness Provost and, as a branch, we will miss his input.”
And Tam Dalyell, former Linlithgow MP, said: “Charlie Snedden, for 40 years, was a towering figure in Scottish local government.
‘‘Every problem that came to him, he approached in a constructive and balanced way. He was imaginative in the projects that he pioneered during his time as vice-convener (and convener) of a notably successful local authority.’’
Adding his tribute, Bo’ness Labour Councillor Adrian Mahoney said: “Charlie was a lovely man who diligently served the people of Bo’ness.
“Even after he left local government he was still active in the Labour movement and was a huge inspiration to me when I became a councillor in 2007. He will be sadly missed.”
Charlie, who was one of nine children – six boys and three girls – was born into a mining family in Castleloan and educated at Kinneil Primary, Bo’ness Public School and Bo’ness Academy.
He joined a shipping company in Grangemouth before doing his National Service with the Army.
His career took off with Fisons and BP before local politics came calling.
In 1959 he was elected to the Douglas Ward on Bo’ness Town Council and swiftly became Provost, a position he retained from 1964-1975 when the town council was abolished under local government reorganisation.
When first elected to the post he was the youngest man ever to take the position.
Charlie went on to represent Kinneil Division on Central Regional Council where he served as vice-convener and convener with distinction.
He retired from local government in 1994 but continued his involvement in Bo’ness affairs through the town’s community council.
During his career, Charlie served on numerous boards and committees and rose to be deputy chairman of the Scottish Special Housing Association.
He also served on the board of Strathcarron Hospice.
He was awarded an OBE in the 1983 New Year Honours List for services to local government.
Charlie was pre-deceased by his wife, Margaret, and son, Douglas.
He is survived by his son Charles and daughter Laura.