When a listener once heard Alistair Macdonald MBE talking on Australian radio, he told him: “Alistair, you made Clydebank sound like the Eldorado of the western world.”

Alistair replied: “Well, it is.”

The proud Bankie, former councillor, and thrice provost has passed away at the age of 78.

Laid to rest on Christmas Eve, the dedicated public servant was a towering figure of town politics, representing residents and for 27 years.

Born at Aird Uig on the Isle of Lewis on May 29, 1941, Alistair moved to Dumbarton when he was five and later joined the police cadets at the age of 16.

It was there that he met his future wife Betty.

“I didn’t really like him very much,” she joked to the Post last week. But they were married by age 18 and 19 in 1960 - the start of a remarkable 59 years together.

Betty added: “He married well and came to Clydebank.”

It was Bankies he particularly loved, she said, getting to know so many through his different roles.

His 10 years with the police saw him at the gates of John Brown’s, before later going to work for Albion Motors in Scotstoun, where he got involved in the trade unions.

And that led him to the Labour Party, where he was first elected as councillor for what was dubbed “The Holy City” because of its flat roofed homes.

Betty said she and her husband would often be up with buckets to bail out residents from the “water coming down, water coming up”.

“He fought, and fought, and fought to get everybody out of those houses,” she said. “He was dedicated to getting them out.”

Read more: Clydebank High’s Santa Dash honours the life of beloved Dr Graham Simpson

After his surgeries, he would return home with a pile of bits of paper with complaints - even if he struggled to read his own writing.

He didn’t want to be someone nobody could come and talk to, added Betty.

Douglas McAllister, councillor and former provost himself, said his friend and mentor was synonymous with the term “provost” for many residents.

“He was an absolute stalwart,” said Cllr McAllister. “It was almost a running joke amongst Labour members – you could put your mortgage on him winning a seat.

“He genuinely cared so much about constituents – he enjoyed his surgery work. He said, ‘Never allow a constituent to leave with a heavy heart – there’s always something you can do for them’.”

Alistair also advised Douglas when to get involved in a fight and when to stay quiet as they would sit together at sometimes robust meetings of, then, 17 Labour councillors out of 22 on West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC).

He had served on Clydebank District Council before it, representing Kilbowie and then Parkhall. He had periods as provost on both councils, and upon his retirement, he was made a Freeman of WDC and also served as deputy lieutenant of Dunbartonshire.

His formal roles saw him regularly deploy his fluent Gaelic skills, never missing an opportunity to speak the language. And he was closely involved with the Polish community, particularly ensuring they were recognised for their support of Clydebank during the Blitz.

Alistair was also a keen gardener with two allotments, with one in Drumry and one at Second Avenue, and was often seen out from 6am until late in the day. He also had the family croft on Lewis.

Betty’s brother Ian, who had Down’s syndrome, lived with Betty and Alistair for the past 25 years. Ian passed away at the age of 63 earlier this year, a big loss to both of them.

Alistair’s family and friends celebrated his life at a service at Dalnottar Cemetery on Tuesday.

Provost William Hendrie paid tribute to his predecessor saying: “I was very sad to hear of Alistair’s passing.

“I got to know Alistair when I attended council meetings as an SNP liaison officer before I was elected as a councillor in 2007. We got on well and I always respected him.

“My thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

Alistair is survived by sons, Alex and Calum, their wives Lesley and Chrissy, and granddaughters Katrina and Allison.