Born: June 13, 1929;

Died: October 22, 2020.

JIM Shaw, who has died aged 91, was the perfect embodiment of public service. Fifteen years a councillor, first of Eastwood District Council then its successor, East Renfrewshire Council, including a stint as Deputy Provost, he came to epitomise everything that was good about local government.

Although a loyal Conservative member, party politics was always of secondary importance to working with other political groups for the good of the people of Eastwood and Barrhead. His unfailing kindness to fellow councillors and staff endeared him to many within the council and to his constituents. Former Labour Provost Betty Cunningham described him as “the only senior Tory figure I know who never had a political enemy.”

Jim Shaw was born in 1929 in Glasgow and was brought up in the west end along with his older brother, Peter. His father died when he was a teenager, and as Peter was called up to the forces, Jim was left to look after his mother.

As a teenager he had an adventurous spirit, cycling from Jordanhill to Clydebank the morning after the Clydebank Blitz in 1941 to collect shrapnel. His overwhelming memory of that fateful day was not of the bombed buildings and the destruction caused but of thousands of rats running in an orderly line down what used to be the Main Street.

Educated at Jordanhill School, he displayed considerable sporting talent from an early age. He was a fine tennis player, winning several club championships, but his real prowess lay in cricket. Having been selected for a Scotland XI in 1946 aged 17, he played against the West Indies, famously bowling out Sir Learie Constantine, one of the greatest batsmen in the world at the time.

Jim first worked in insurance. One day, the internal staircase of a building in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street collapsed while he was visiting a customer, three floors up. He escaped death by inches, though he was severely injured and took a year to recover fully.

Following National Service, he carved out a successful career in sales and promotions. He joined John Player and Sons at the age of 22 and, although a non-smoker, stayed with the company for the next 30 years, rising to become UK Sales Manager.

He was responsible for the promotion of many events, particularly in motor racing, where John Player sponsored the Lotus F1 team. He also sponsored the Monte Carlo Rally and started the event from the steps of the former Scottish Royal Automobile Club (now the Blythswood Square Hotel) on several occasions between the late 1960s and the early 1970s.

Soon after his retirement in 1985, he joined the industrial tribunals service as a lay member, helping to adjudicate on numerous claims of unlawful treatment and, in one notable case, writing up the judgment in favour of the claimant when the chairman disagreed with the tribunal’s decision.

His tribunal work exposed him to public service and he soon joined Eastwood’s Conservative Association. In 1992 he was elected to Eastwood District Council, where he brought his business skills into the authority’s work. On local government reorganisation in 1995 he was elected as a councillor for the new East Renfrewshire Council, representing the Giffnock South ward.

His fellow councillors and council staff quickly recognised his honest, genuine, caring qualities. Although the new council was Labour-controlled, he argued strongly against factional politics and determined that the Conservative opposition would work with the administration to achieve the best outcomes for East Renfrewshire residents.

This consensual approach was recognised by the council, which appointed him to the Strathclyde Joint Police Board and worked to secure his appointment as Chairman of the Scottish Accident Prevention Council. He soon put that organisation on a sound financial basis following a prolonged debt-ridden period.

It also brought him the Deputy Provost post in 2003, in which he worked extremely closely with the formidable Betty Cunningham to establish a reputation for East Renfrewshire as a popular, progressive local authority, described by former First Minister Jack McConnell as his “favourite council.”

In 2007 he was awarded an MBE for services to local government.

When he retired from the council in 2007, he quickly became the Chairman, then Honorary President, of the Eastwood Conservative Association. His interests continued to be tennis, cricket – although by now as a spectator rather than participant – and football (he was a keen Rangers supporter).

He was a Church of Scotland elder, serving faithfully the Giffnock South community.

Jim was devoted to May, his wife of 42 years, his son Max and his four grandchildren. His retirement was tinged with sadness, however, when he lost his daughter, Linda, to a painful illness in 2007. He himself did not always keep in the best of health, suffering from several illnesses in later life.

Despite his increasing fragility, however, he kept active and retained friendships across the political divide.

He is survived by May, Max and grandchildren, James, Clementine, Elliott and Alistair.