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Donald Dewar Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Churches mourn Dewar's loss
Dojald Dewar
The moderator praised Mr Dewar for his record
The moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has spoken of the time he spent at the bedside of Donald Dewar as he lay critically ill in hospital.

The Right Reverend Andrew McLellan said that, "as a friend", he wanted to be with Donald Dewar and his family.

The moderator said he also went to his bedside at the Western General in an official capacity in recognition of the "official relationship" between the Kirk and the Scottish Executive.

The Rt Rev Andrew McLellan
The Rt Rev Andrew McLellan: "He was a friend"
He said: "Ministers have a natural instinct to go to hospitals when people are very ill.

"I knew Donald quite well. I was not in his immediate circle of friends, but he was a friend and I wanted to be with him and his family.

"Also the first minister and the Church of Scotland have an official relationship and Donald has been very affirmative of the church.

The moderator said he wanted to show the "affection and the regard" which church members had felt for him.

Donald Dewar, he said, had "delivered the Scottish Parliament" where others had merely talked about doing so.

' Stood for justice'

The moderator told BBC Scotland: "That's a huge achievement but that's by no means his only political achievement because he has always stood for what is now called social inclusion.

"He always stood for justice for the weak and the poor and tried to be a voice for those who have no voice.

"Under any political arrangement that is quite vital.

"Scotland is the better for Donald's Dewar's principles in these matters over many years."

Cardinal Thomas Winning, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "With the death of Donald Dewar, Scotland has lost its most outstanding politician.

"He never lost touch with the ideal which brought him to politics; the ideal of service to the community.

"In political life and in the important positions he held, Donald Dewar was a man of principle and transparent honesty. With his passing Scotland is the poorer."

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The Right Reverend Andrew McLellan
"Scotland is the better for Donald's Dewar's principles"
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11 Oct 00 | Scotland
10 Oct 00 | Scotland
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