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Community / Tributes paid to ex-councillor Gussie

WELL-KNOWN figure in Shetland political and social life Leslie “Gussie” Angus has died at the age of 79.

Gussie, a native Lerwegian, was well known throughout the isles and had a diverse set of interests including family history and bagpipe playing. He was the middle of three brothers including the late Tom Angus and Stewart Angus, who lives in Lerwick.

Gussie went to the Anderson High School in the same class as Peter Malcolmson with whom he had a life long friendship; the pair also worked together at the social services department and as SIC councillors.

Peter said that Gussie could express himself very forthrightly and had a robust sense of humour, but beneath that, he had a heart of gold.

Peter said: “He was a friend and school chum and colleague of mine all his life and we were close friends all that time.”

In his early career Gussie worked at the Met Office and ended up in weather ships based in the Atlantic. There, Peter believed, Gussie developed a sense of social justice, as some of crewmen came onto these storm-tossed ships with nothing but the shirt on their back.

After that he got a job as a probation officer in Glasgow and it was that experience in social work that led to Gussie and Peter’s paths crossing again when Gussie got the job of deputy head of social work when Peter was director.

When Peter left social work in 1990 Gussie continued but the two were still connected via the voluntary sector and were instrumental in setting up Market House where Gussie remained as deputy chairman of Voluntary Action Shetland.

Leslie “Gussie” Angus. Photo: SIC

They were also colleagues on Shetland Islands Council. Gussie was elected initially to the Twageos Ward in 1999. He was re-elected in May 2003 and 2007 for the amalgamated Lerwick South ward and served until 2012.

“Gussie had a long life in local government and in serving the community,” added Peter. Despite his sometimes brash exterior, Gussie’s whole life had been about serving other people who were perhaps less fortunate then him, he added.

He both played and taught the bagpipes on a voluntary basis and was a member of Lerwick Pipe Band. He was also known for presenting the Radio Shetland show Catgut and Ivory along with Cecil Hughson.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell said that he was shocked and saddened by news of Gussie’s death and gave his deepest sympathies to Gussie’s widow, Elizabeth, and their family John Angus and Shona Thomson.

Malcolm said that Gussie had been a “big personality” and had played a “massive part” in Shetland public life for many years.

He was a “very clever and well-studied individual” and “one of the guys that could speak about everything”, said Malcolm.

Gussie was head of the SIC services committee at a time when every councillor had a seat on each of the two big SIC committees, one of which was services. He was also chair of Shetland Development Trust and the Lerwick Town Hall Consultative Committee.