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Two-minute silence held for former Aberdeen Lord Provost Jim Wyness after death aged 85

Jim Wyness meets Mikhail Gorbachev.
Jim Wyness meets Mikhail Gorbachev.

A two-minute silence was held at the opening of yesterday’s full city council meeting in honour of former Lord Provost Jim Wyness who has died aged 85.

Members of all party persuasions paid tribute to the former Labour councillor who rose to the highest ceremonial ranks of the city after previously working in shipbuilding and as a teacher during a varied career.

In addition to the commemorative silence, council officials lowered the flag outside the town house to half mast.

Educated at the city’s Broomhill Primary and Ruthrieston secondary schools, Mr Wyness began his working life as a shipyard electrician and became active in the trade union movement in 1948 and the Labour party four years later.

However, he had to give up his career after falling from a mast and suffering injuries.

He studied history and politics at Aberdeen University and subsequently became a teacher, working at the city’s Hazlehead Academy until 1986.

Mr Wyness was first elected as to the old Grampian Regional Council in 1980 as a Labour councillor for Tillydrone.

He served as the Lord Provost – the ceremonial head and Queen’s representative of the city – from 1992 to 1996 during which time he welcomed former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev when he received the Freedom of Aberdeen in 1993.

Mr Wyness worked as a teacher at Hazlehead Academy until his retirement in 1995 – the same year he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year honours.

Current Lord Provost Barney Crockett, an Aberdeen Labour member, said his predecessor had an “intimate knowledge” of the city’s history and traditions.

He added: “Lord Provost Wyness really set the bar for the role and had a great affinity with the city and its people.”

Following the two-minute silence, fulsome tributes were paid in the chamber.

Council co-leader Jenny Laing said: “It is a very sad day. It is clear that James had a great commitment to the city.

“He also gave great commitment to the Labour Party and the Labour movement.”

Independent Bridge of Don councillor John Reynolds said: “I became Lord Provost in 2003 and the advice James and Lyes gave my wife and I went down a treat.”

SNP group leader Stephen Flynn added: “On behalf of the SNP group, I express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Wyness.”

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