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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Anniversary tribute to Donald Dewar
Donald Dewar in Edinburgh
Donald Dewar was Scotland's first First Minister
A "fitting and lasting" tribute to the memory of Scotland's inaugural First Minister Donald Dewar has been unveiled by his successor Henry McLeish.

To mark the first anniversary of Mr Dewar's death, the current first minister said he looked at some of the things that mattered most to him - his commitment to social justice, to a creative Scotland and to education.

The first minister said the Donald Dewar Scholarships would offer youngsters from deprived backgrounds the chance to develop their talents.

Mr Dewar died from a brain haemorrhage on 11 October last year in the intensive care unit of Edinburgh's Western General Hospital.

Henry McLeish
Henry McLeish: The scheme is a "fitting tribute"

The 63-year-old had become ill the previous afternoon, after a fall outside his official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh.

His death came just over a year after delivering Scotland's first parliament for 300 years.

Mr McLeish said that the new political and constitutional settlement in Scotland is the most fitting tribute to Mr Dewar.

He said that Mr Dewar played the pivotal role in the delivery of devolution to Scotland, by the first Labour government for nearly two decades.

Mr McLeish said: "The Donald Dewar Scholarships for the Arts are a fitting tribute to the great achievements of Donald Dewar.

These scholarships are a great and fitting tribute to a great politician and a great man

Henry McLeish

"They will offer talented youngsters from less privileged backgrounds the chance to develop their talents to the highest level - an opportunity which they may never get otherwise.

"That would have appealed greatly to Donald. Social justice - which is at the very heart of executive policies - was his burning passion and biggest political motivation.

"The Dewar Scholarships bring together his desire for social justice with two of his other great passions, excellence in the arts and education.

"These scholarships are a great and fitting tribute to a great politician and a great man. But I believe the greatest tribute of all, and what Donald himself would have wanted, would be for the Dewar scholars to seize the opportunity and develop their talents to the highest possible level."

Mr McLeish said Mr Dewar "was not a man to show emotions publicly" and he would not have wanted mawkish sentimentality to surround the anniversary of his death.

Donald Dewar meets the Queen
The Scottish Parliament was opened by the Queen

Meanwhile, Mr Dewar's successor as MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, Bill Butler, has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament, which has been signed by all Labour cabinet members, noting the anniversary and placing on record the parliament's admiration for Mr Dewar's life and work.

Lesley Quinn, General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party spoke for all party members when she said: "Donald Dewar was an inspirational figure to all within the Scottish Labour movement, including myself. And it is in tribute to his memory that we continue to fight for social justice in Scotland"

Reflecting on Donald Dewar's legacy, Secretary of State for Scotland, Helen Liddell said: "That the Scottish Parliament came into being in the first place is a lasting testament to Donald's vision and belief in devolution.

"That it should have survived and gone on to prosper following the shock of his early death shows that the devolution settlement he helped craft is stable and resilient."

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 ON THIS STORY
Kit Fraser reports
The first minister said Donald Dewar played a pivotal role in the delivery of devolution"
Political Editor Brian Taylor
"One year on, a tribute that goes beyond politics."
Click on the stories to find out more

Key stories

The tributes

Filling the void

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See also:

01 Jul 01 | Scotland
06 Apr 06 | Scotland
11 Dec 00 | Scotland
09 Dec 00 | Scotland
18 Oct 00 | Donald Dewar
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