Since the announcement in your paper last week that Iain Gray MSP will not be seeking re-election, many people in East Lothian and beyond have told me about how he has helped them, and of their admiration and respect for his record as our representative in the Scottish Parliament.

Iain exemplifies the very best in public service.

His motivation and his hard work have always been about improving the lives of others.

During his career at Holyrood, his contribution in health and social care, and in education, have helped improve the quality of life, and life chances, of many.

I have had the privilege of seeing that work first hand, sharing an office with Iain in Tranent for five years.

Iain’s values extend beyond his politics to the way he lives his life, and the way he responds to people.

He is a great person to have as a colleague and friend.

As well as being generous with his experience and advice, we shared many laughs. In more difficult times, he was equally generous with his support and understanding and I will always be grateful to him for that.

For Iain, putting East Lothian first has been so much more than a line in a leaflet.

He loves our county and has been an enduring supporter of local communities, organisations and businesses.

I hope this doesn’t read like an obituary, in a political or any other sense.

I have no doubt that he will work hard for us in the lead up to the Scottish Parliament in May 2021, and beyond that he will continue to make valuable contributions to political discourse in Scotland, and to make a difference here in East Lothian.

Through your letters page I want to thank Iain for his years of public service in East Lothian, and on a personal note to thank him for his constant friendship.

We are all very fortunate to have such a man in our lives.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell