NICOLA Sturgeon has announced plans to commemorate one of the SNP’s most beloved activists.

The First Minister said the party would create a “staffer of the year award” in honour of Calum Cashley, who died in August from cancer aged 54 after just becoming a father.

Mr Cashley stood unsuccessfully for election to Holyrood and Westminster, but went on to become one of the party’s most tenacious and respected researchers.

He worked for the MSPs Fiona Hyslop, Linda Fabiani and Christina McKelvie, and latterly for MP of Edinburgh North and Leith Deidre Brock. 

As the SNP’s annual awards were handed out at the final day of the party’s online conference, Ms Sturgeon said two posthumous Special Recognition Awards would go to Mr Cashley and Jim Lynch, the late editor of the Scots Independent paper.

She said Mr Lynch would be “hugely missed”, and called Mr Cashley “irreplaceable”.

Mr Cashley’s wife, Laura, accepted the Special Recognition Award on his behalf. 

She said: "Calum's commitment to his work for Scotland was irrefutable and he made so many, many friends during his time as a MSP and MP researcher.  

"He would have been overwhelmed by the love shown by party members in the past few months and grateful for all the support offered to Rosa and I - you've carried us through the most testing of times.  

"We're so chuffed to see an award created in Calum's name which recognises both his work and the immense value of staffers."

Ms Brock added: “Calum was so much more than a staffer to me: he was a friend, an ally, a brilliant political talent and an incredibly hard-working and much-loved member of our team.

"He was dedicated to our constituents’ needs, to making Scotland a better place and to independence. You couldn’t have asked for better.

"So I’m just delighted his ability has been recognised with this award”.