TRIBUTES have been paid to a much-loved Prestonpans stalwart who passed away aged 77 after a battle with cancer.

Alex Park was an active member of the Prestonpans community, living in the town for more than 50 years after moving from Glasgow with his wife of 58 years Margaret.

The pair have two children, Sandra and Raymond, as well as three grandchildren, Hayden, Liam and Monty, and one great-grandchild on the way.

Mr Park twice served on Prestonpans Community Council, chairing the group during the 2000s for 10 years and serving as a member for a further five.

After a spell away from the group, Alex joined again as a member in 2022, where he served until his passing yesterday (February 29).

His wife Margaret told the Courier: “As a person, he was wonderful. Everybody loved him.

“He was a very special person and we will all miss him.”

Alex was diagnosed with cancer in his oesophagus in June last year, and Mrs Park said that he was told straight away that the cancer was terminal.

She said: “He was very involved in the community. He did the community council and also a lot of charity work.

“He worked with Beyond Boundaries and Changes East Lothian. Unfortunately, he got sick during his time working with Beyond Boundaries, but he still worked hard.”

Mr Park was also a key figure in helping set up the Friends of Preston Tower group, which has played a key role in restoring the historic tower in the town.

Plans are in place to finish the installation of an internal staircase at the tower, with the view to opening it to the public this summer.

Mrs Park said: “He loved the tower and was very passionate about the work there. He was going to be a tour guide for guests when it finally opened.

“He was an important part of that group.”

As well as his voluntary work, Mr Park also worked as a transport officer for East Lothian Council, worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland and drove at Premier Coaches.

He was also involved in the town’s art club and enjoyed going on cruises and motor tours with Margaret, who said: “We’ve seen so much of the world together and I have so many memories.

“He will be missed so much.”

A funeral service will be held for Mr Park in due course. The service will be a small private gathering at Alex’s request.

DJ Johnston-Smith, chair of Prestonpans Community Council, said: “The entire community council was enormously saddened to learn of the passing yesterday of our lovely colleague Alex Park.

“He rejoined the community council in 2022 after being away for a well-earned rest for a few years following a 15-year stint, where he chaired it for 10, while he was also heavily involved in the local art club.

“When he came back on board, his extensive experience as a transport officer for East Lothian Council proved invaluable as he began to lobby for improvements in our local roads and assisting our efforts to avert the closure of Johnnie Cope's Road.

“He was also incredibly enthusiastic about the work at Preston Tower and integral in establishing the Friends of Preston Tower group.

“Taken much too soon, he will be a sore loss to our group, the Friends of Preston Tower and to all who knew him.

“We send our sincerest condolences to his widow Margaret and to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Alex.”

A spokesperson for Friends of Preston Tower added: “Such sad news. Alex was so looking forward to organising tours inside the tower and doocot, and helping share the history and heritage of this wonderful site, and was right at the heart of the initial push towards setting up a friends group.

“Our sincerest condolences to Margaret, her family and friends as they come to terms with his loss. Rest in peace, Alex.”