Former Lord Provost of Glasgow Born May 26, 1940 Died January 24, 2009 SUSAN Baird, who has died of cancer aged 68, brought light and life to the ancient post of lord provost of Glasgow. Visually as far removed from flinty-faced apparatchiks as was possible, she unashamedly flaunted her good looks and dashing poise. These, armed with a smile that radiated fun and enjoyment, made her the delight of photographers and picture editors everywhere.

To her lord provost's office overlooking George Square, she brought a regal touch, but was never too grand to pour the tea for distinguished visitors. As for her title, she pointedly explained that she was "lord provost" and that there was no nomenclature of "lady provost". Those who addressed her as "lady provost" were magisterially commanded to contribute 50p to a swear box. Nobody was let off, and charity benefited annually from the contents.

The problem, it soon transpired, lay in what to call her husband, George, her consort on so many civic duties. "Citizen" proved an early failure and the problem was eventually solved by his wish to be addressed simply as "George".

When the Queen opened the restored McLellan Galleries two decades ago, Lord Provost Baird brought dignity and formality to the exterior of Glasgow's welcome. Over lunch afterwards, the Royal Lady and the First Citizen chatted non-stop about their children, with the lord provost observing that hers were "getting into far too many scrapes". "So are mine" came Her Majesty's reply.

A former City Chambers aide recalled how Lord Provost Baird would "get along with anyone like the original house on fire", adding: "She was a super lass, a great girl. She was more than a breath of fresh air - more like a welcome hurricane from another planet. She was a genuinely lovely lady". Yet for all her vibrancy, she stood no nonsense. When as lord provost chairing a full council meeting, she dealt with interrupters or miscreants with no mercy.

Elected to represent Parkhead in the "shadow" Glasgow District Council in 1974, she was Glasgow's longest-serving councillor of modern times, retiring in 2007 after 33 years' service. Her time as lord provost for four years from 1988 she intended as her civic swansong - as indeed is the Glasgow tradition. To the surprise of both herself and her husband, her constituents insisted she stay on. Initially somewhat reluctant, she did - serving a further 17 years.

It was a move that grew from the strength of her east end roots, for Susan Reilly was the complete Glasgow east end girl. Born in Dalton Street, Parkhead, and educated locally at St Mark's Secondary School, she married husband George in 1957 and busied herself raising a family of three sons and a daughter.

But her social conscience and a family tradition of Labour Party observance (she joined in 1969) drew her into public life, where her outgoing personality and effervescent sociability made her a ready catch for local politics.

Her organising abilities resulted in her appointment as a bailie, and became convener of the city's manpower committee in 1980, four years later taking on the reins as vice-convener of the powerful parks and recreation committee. This proved a fortunate move, since it gave her direct insight into two major themes which cropped up in her terms as lord provost - the Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988 and the City of Culture two years later.

In the year-long culture festival, she was spotted at events everywhere from St Rollox locomotive works in Springburn to the depths of The Arches, with the Tramway and Kelvingrove Art Galleries in between.

When she was persuaded to stand again after serving as provost, her colleagues found that the contacts she had nurtured were too valuable to lose, and she became involved in economic development after the 1992 local elections. At local government reorganisation in 1996, she became convener of the economic and industrial development committee, and continued her interest in city regeneration right to her final retirement from the council in 2007.

Baird had been looking forward to seeing the results of her work towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games, when so many events are to be centred in her own east end. She had been an early mover in ensuring that the east end was marked as a priority.

Baird died during cancer treatment. It was not her first brush with the illness. As a young bailie, she attended a routine photocall for women's cancer screening, undertaking the test to set an example. The result showed positive, but treatment cleared her.

Susan Baird CBE DL JP OStJ DUniv is survived by her husband, George; children James, George, Stephen and Susan; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.