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Donald Dewar Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK
A nation in mourning
Floral tribute
A floral tribute from students in Edinburgh
Civic leaders in Aberdeen have been considering a permanent memorial to Donald Dewar in the city where he began his parliamentary career.

Lord Provost Margaret Smith met with local Labour Party officials on Thursday afternoon to start discussing the options for a fitting tribute.

Aberdeen is just one location across Scotland where books of condolence have been opened to allow members of the public to express their grief over the death of the first minister.

In the city where Mr Dewar served as MP for Aberdeen South from 1966 to 1970, Lord Provost Smith wrote: "This is a sad moment for Scotland because Donald Dewar showed leadership and a desire for harmony that meant a benefit for all of us. He will be sorely missed."

Book of condolences
Another name goes in this book of condolences
A book at Edinburgh City Chambers gathered messages throughout the night, one simply reading: "A great man who will always be remembered by the country he loved".

The first minister's colleagues, constituents and members of the public were left in shock by his death on Wednesday.

Council offices across the country - including Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, Highlands and the Western Isles - have opened books of condolence for Mr Dewar.

The Scottish Labour Party, which opened its own book of condolence only hours after the death was announced, said it had had a good response.

Similar facilities are available at the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive offices in Edinburgh.

Politicians united

Prime Minister Tony Blair used a meeting of the Westminster Cabinet on Thursday to pay further tribute to Mr Dewar.

Mr Dewar's funeral on Wednesday is expected to be on the same scale as the funeral of late Labour leader John Smith in 1994.

Scotland's politicians put aside their differences and were united in grief over the loss of the first minister.

Donald Dewar's chidlren
Mr Dewar's children agreed to switch off the life support machine
It was confirmed that Jim Wallace, the Liberal Democrat Deputy First Minister, would take over until a successor is approved by the Queen.

He will be assisted by Labour MSP Henry McLeish, who is said to be in poll position to take over the hot seat.

Members of the executive would not be drawn on who might be Scotland's next leader and the period of political mourning is expected to continue for some time yet.

The country's parliament, which is currently on a two-week recess, will reconvene on Friday afternoon to allow MSPs to pay tribute to their friend and colleague.

Remembrance gardens

Lasting reminders of Mr Dewar's life are expected to be established in gardens of remembrance.

South Lanarkshire Council has pledged to create such gardens in Hamilton, East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Lanark.

Council leader, Eddie McAvoy, said: "Donald was indeed a giant of a man in more ways than one. He was a man who folk in all walks of life were able to identify with.

"He was not remote. He was a man who had the very best interest of the people of Scotland at the forefront of all his work.

"And all - irrespective of their beliefs - knew that."

Chief political correspondent John Morrison
"It's not just in Scotland that Donald Dewar is being remembered."
Scottish Parliament Officer, Sir David Steel
"There is no appetite around us now to be discussing the successor"
Click on the stories to find out more

Key stories

The tributes

Filling the void


See also:

11 Oct 00 | Scotland
11 Oct 00 | Scotland
11 Oct 00 | Scotland
11 Oct 00 | Scotland
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