Alasdair Kennedy, who has died following a long illness, will be remembered as a prominent and popular figure in Gaelic and Highland life.

Although not a musician himself, he was patriarch of a well-known Gaelic singing family - his wife, Kenna Campbell, and daughters, Mary Ann and Wilma, are all renowned singers - and through his

weekly Glasgow Letter in the Oban Times, he chronicled events in Gaelic social circles for almost 30 years.

Alasdair was born in Glasgow, but at the age of three he moved with his parents and spent his formative years on Tiree. On the island he was brought up to speak both

Gaelic and English and, though he spent almost all his adult

life in Glasgow, his childhood home remained a source of inspiration.

On leaving Oban High School, where he was athletics champion, Alasdair studied mechanical and electrical engineering at Dundee Technical College and at Stow College in Glasgow. From there, he joined W Crockatt & Sons of Pollokshields and he remained with the company for the rest of his working life.

He never set foot out of Britain, preferring to spend his three weeks' annual holidays on Tiree, but he often said that he would like to have seen some of the places where the machines and pharmaceutical instruments he worked on ended up. Alas, these machines never went wrong - thus robbing him of his chance to visit exotic locations all over the world.

Away from work, Alasdair had no conventional hobbies. His leisure hours were almost entirely taken up with the many organisations with which he was involved and into which he put huge amounts of work. He was a prominent and energetic member of the Glasgow Gaelic Drama Association, the Glasgow Skye Association and the Glasgow Gaelic Society. He was also treasurer of the Highlanders' Institute and president and latterly honorary president of the Tiree Association.

He was best known, how-ever, as the man who wrote the Glasgow Letter for the Oban Times. From 1971 until Alasdair's eyesight began to fail, this weekly column charted the social life of the Glasgow Gaels and Glasgow Highlanders, and was the definitive, and eagerly read, source of information

on events.

Alasdair attended many of these events himself, but every week people phoned him with details on which ceilidhs were held where, who sang, who gave the vote of thanks and who played the pipes. In Glasgow's Highland community, where home ties were and remain very strong, such information mattered a great deal, and Alasdair was the point of contact for everyone within

the community.

His own ties with Tiree remained unseverable - one week each summer the Glasgow Letter would become the Tiree Letter by default - and his visits there rejuvenated him. On what was to be his last visit, this year, he saw the island's new mart and new hall opened. These were big community ventures that he doubted would come to fruition in his lifetime, but such was the regard he was held in that the islanders arranged a special additional open day so that he, in particular, could see them properly.

As honorary president of the Tiree Association, he was proud of the islanders' achievements. He was proud, too, of Kenna, Mary Ann and Wilma's singing. Even if he did joke that being the only, non-singing, male in a household of singers who were always practising made him take refuge in his office sometimes, he encouraged them and enjoyed sharing in their successes. He'll be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Alasdair Kennedy, design engineer, born June 28, 1929; died November 12, 2004.