Sadness at passing of local politician

THE town of Ellon has been shocked and saddened to hear of the death of one of its most charismatic political figures last week.

Rhona Kemp (75) died in Aberdeen, leaving a huge gap in local politics which she had graced for over 30 years.

The Leith-born Mrs Kemp was a larger than life character who was out going and friendly - but woe betide those who crossed her in her quest to further the causes she believed in.

Her biggest achievement on the local scene was to become convener of Grampian Regional Council in 1994, becoming the first and only women to hold the post. When local government was reorganised she continued to participate in the newly formed Aberdeenshire Council in 1995, though in 1998 she left the Liberal Democrats to join the SNP. The move led to her losing her seat in Ellon at the next election, though for many in the town it was a tragedy to lose its most volatile spokesperson.

In the meantime she had injured her knee in a fall, leading to her becoming more and more mobile immobile in the new millennium. She did, however, continue her community involvement, turning her attentions to support disabled groups, including Aberdeenshire Disability and Disability to Opportunity.

But politics apart, Rhona was a doting mother and grandmother, survived by children Stephen, Karen and Paul.

She also had five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Most of all she will be missed by husband Ian, her constant companion of 53 years who, although less politically minded than his wife, was more of an influence on her career than most knew. His loyalty and support in the later years were there for all to see in what was a loving and caring relationship.

Rhona Kemp will be sadly missed by all her knew her in a world where charisma seems to be in short supply, not least in local politics.

Her funeral was held on Tuesday in Aberdeen.