Born: May 7, 1948;

Died: September 9, 2021.

STEWART McIntosh, who has died aged 73, was an award-winning journalist who was particularly known for his writing on the property market. Having started his career in the trade union movement, he went on to work for The Herald, the BBC and the Daily Record. A passionate runner, he also helped establish Scotland’s Runner magazine and played a key role in the establishment of the Glasgow Marathon, which continues to this day as the Great Scottish Run.

He became a leading force in UK property journalism, winning 16 national press awards, including (on no fewer than nine occasions) the title of UK Property Journalist of the year.

Stewart was born in Rutherglen in May 1948, the first child of George and Martha McIntosh, who raised their large family in the close-knit community of Spital housing scheme. He was a doting big brother to his younger siblings, and would forever remain fiercely proud of his roots and his working-class background.

At Rutherglen Academy his teachers encouraged the avid reader, writer and young poet to consider a career focused on English and literature. But life’s practicalities took priority and he left school at 15 without any formal qualifications in order to work at Hallside Steel Works, which allowed him to contribute to the household.

In his teenage years he developed a keen interest in distance running, joining Cambuslang Harriers. Running was not yet a popular sport and the sight of the teenager pounding the Rutherglen streets prompted confusion, mockery and rebukes from the locals. His passion for the sport remained un-swayed and he began to train and run competitively in his spare time.

A few years of labouring roles in the steel industry let him consider his future and he signed up to study for his Highers at Langside College, funding his studies by working night-shifts at Hallside. The effort and sleep deprivation paid off and he gained entry qualifications for a university education.

By 1970, he had met his future wife, Marion, and embarked on his university career, embracing his natural talent for writing and love of reading by studying Scottish and English literature at Strathclyde University. Throughout his life he was proud to be an alumnus of a university committed to diversity and widening access.

He thrived at university and seized every opportunity. He won the university poetry prize and became a published poet, and pursued his love of writing and his burgeoning interest in journalism by writing for, then editing, the student newspaper, the Strathclyde Telegraph.

It was from within the hotbed of 1970s student activism that he became politically focused, winning awards for the university debating society, before being elected as president of Strathclyde Students' Union and subsequently, after a highly competitive campaign, as president of the Scottish National Union of Students.

This was an era when the student movement was a powerful force for leftist transformation in the UK, and Stewart used his influence to fight for equal rights for non-white minorities, women, and LGBT people. He led rallies of thousands of people standing against racism and apartheid, and successfully campaigned for the continuation of student grants and free tuition fees.

A pacifist to his core, he led his protests with a strong anti-violence ethos, demonstrating to his followers that the power of positive media attention could be a stronger tool than anarchy in gaining sway and momentum.

After graduating, he began working for the STUC, where he directly supported general secretary Jimmy Milne. Under a Thatcher government Stewart worked hard to mitigate and advocate for the working classes as the loss of heavy industries, high levels of unemployment and the erosion of workers’ rights all took their toll.

He continued to nurture his passion for running on a personal and political level and played a key role in the campaign to launch the Glasgow Marathon. His success in the sport was notable: he held the title for the Ben Lomond hill race, and finished in the top 100 runners for the London Marathon with a personal best of 2:44:57.

Naturally, he considered a further career in politics, but with fatherhood taking priority after the arrival of daughters Morag and Rona, he was drawn more strongly towards the family-centred, home-based lifestyle that a career in journalism could offer. He started writing for a number of national newspapers and editorials, including regular columns in The Herald and the Record, as well as working as an on-screen reporter for BBC Scotland News and Current Affairs.

In 1986, merging his love of running and writing, he was part of a three-strong team that launched the country’s first sports magazine, Scotland’s Runner, which published monthly until 1993.

His family was the centre of his life, and he relished his friendships, nurturing many life-long connections. He was a fantastic raconteur and joker with a booming, infectious laugh.

He was a socialist and an activist who stood up for the vulnerable and oppressed. He was wise and thoughtful – a natural leader – and had a powerful instinct to help people in whatever way he could. He was clever, creative and full of joy. A poet, a journalist, a writer to his core.

He is survived by Marion, Morag and Rona, and his grandchildren.