LEADING Scottish nationalists paid tribute yesterday to Mr Arthur

Donaldson, a founder of the SNP, who died in a Forfar nursing home on

Monday aged 91.

A superb orator, he joined the National Party of Scotland in 1928,

which became the SNP four years later. He was chairman in l960 and,

during his nine-year leadership, he transformed a fringe grouping into a

mainstream party.

Former MP and party chairman, Mr Gordon Wilson, who was national

secretary under Mr Donaldson's chairmanship, said: ''Arthur was the

dominant member of the SNP in his time. Under his inspired leadership,

the party mushroomed in size.''

SNP leader Mr Alex Salmond described him as an inspirational figure

Mr Andrew Welsh, MP for Angus East, said: ''Arthur was a foundation

stone on which a free Scotland will be built.''

A Dundonian, Mr Donaldson retired as editor of the Forfar Dispatch to

become chairman of the SNP.

He fought six parliamentary seats and it is significant that four of

these -- Galloway, Moray, Dundee, and Perthsire -- later returned

nationalist MPs.

He is survived by his widow, Vi, a son, seven grandchildren, and six