Tributes in memory of Council Leader Willie Innes

Image is a professional head and shoulders photograph of Councillor Willie Innes.

East Lothian Council Leader, Councillor Willie Innes, sadly passed away on Sunday 24 October following a long illness.

Councillor Innes was one of the authority’s longest-serving councillors. He first served in the then district council before the move to a unitary authority on 1 April 1996. Representing the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward in which he lived, he was appointed Leader of the East Lothian Labour Group in 2007. He was appointed Council Leader in 2012.

Flags will fly at half-mast on the Town House, Haddington, and Brunton Hall, Musselburgh, to mark his passing. A one-minute silence was held at the scheduled meeting of East Lothian Council on Tuesday 26 October, along with tributes from members of all parties and Chief Executive Monica Patterson. The webcast of the meeting will be available to view online.

Tributes from colleagues

“We are all saddened to learn of the death of East Lothian Council Leader, Councillor Willie Innes. Councillor Innes was one of East Lothian’s longest-serving councillors, having served the county since 1988 first with East Lothian District Council and then with East Lothian Council following its inception. He held a number of offices within the council culminating in his position as Council Leader. 

Throughout his career, Councillor Innes was dedicated to public service. He was a well-known figure in our political landscape and was widely respected for his commitment to East Lothian. As Leader he provided wise counsel to officers and support for many individuals, organisations and businesses across the county.

Our thoughts are with his wife, their children and his friends and family.”

Monica Patterson, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council


“I have worked alongside Councillor Innes for many years as a colleague and a friend and will miss him greatly. He was dedicated to his role as a public servant and always worked to do his best for the people he represented. Throughout his decades of service he represented the Council and the county at every opportunity and made sure that our most vulnerable residents were at the heart of decision-making. His loss will be felt across East Lothian but not more so than by his family and those who were closest to him.”

Norman Hampshire, Depute Council Leader Councillor


“This is a sad day for East Lothian. Sharing a ward with Councillor Innes I saw first-hand what a big part of Prestonpans he was. It was evident how much he meant to the community, and how much the community meant to him. He was a significant figure in East Lothian’s landscape and will be much missed by all who knew him.”

Councillor Lachlan Bruce, East Lothian Council Conservative Party Leader


“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Councillor Innes. Willie was hugely respected by politicians from all parties including myself and was rightly highly regarded by his constituents and community as a tenacious advocate for those he served for so many years. I want to send my deepest condolences, and those of the SNP Group, to his family and many friends as well as to the Labour Group and party colleagues at both local and national level.”

Stuart Currie, East Lothian Council SNP Group Leader Councillor


"The East Lothian Joint Trade Unions were saddened to hear of the passing of Councillor Willie Innes. He was and always will be a force to be reckoned with, well respected, a true gentleman, a big man with a big heart. A man who always thought of the East Lothian Council staff as the greatest asset and always had time to stop and speak to them and genuinely listen. I’m sure all of the trade union East Lothian Council members, myself and the staff will miss him and our thoughts at this time are with his family.

Michael Dunlop, Unison Branch Secretary, East Lothian Council Branch (speaking on behalf of all East Lothian Trade Unions)



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