Island officer Gus bows out after 28 years of service on Arran

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Island officer Gus Macleod has retired after nearly three decades working on Arran for the local authority.

He took up the role as assistant local officer in 1991 before becoming island officer in 1999 – the job that he has held until retiring yesterday on Friday June 28.

During that time he has been stuck at sea, stranded without power for a week and trekked across Holy Isle on many a Council assignment.

Having carried out a wide range of duties Gus admits there has been very few dull moments during 28 years of service.

He said: ‘It has been eventful. I’ve probably visited every place in Arran whether it’s in an environmental health capacity, building standards, roads, waste or something else.

‘I’ve been over to the Holy Isle on many occasions to meet contractors. You’d arrive at the north side of the island and the only way you could get across is by walking. So that was always enjoyable and kept me fit!

‘Overall, I have to say working for the Council and helping the island has been rewarding. It’s been great, not without its challenges, but really enjoyable. I was meant to retire last year but was enjoying things so much that I stayed on for another year.’

Most islanders will have come into contact with Gus at some point and very few will forget his and others’ role during ‘Snowmageddon’ in 2013.

Commenting on that difficult time Gus said: ‘That was certainly very interesting. I was without power for seven days but was trying to put things in place to help the island get back on its feet.  It was a difficult period as you knew what was needed but it was difficult getting things organised.

‘We had to try and get helicopters out to help some our most vulnerable residents, while we lost our snow plough for a considerable time because of the level of snow. We had mountain rescue helping us too.  I remember they were due to be back at the base at noon but didn’t return until 9pm as they kept getting stuck at various places.

‘It was an experience and just one of the things you have to deal when you work for the Council on an island.’

Gus also played a key role in elections, making sure the ballot papers made it over to the mainland for the count.

He said: ‘Elections were always fun. People see the count and the results but don’t realise that getting to that point isn’t always straightforward.

‘We would usually take an open rib and usually, while it could be bumpy, everything worked fine, and we got the ballot papers over to the mainland. But on one occasion, we broke down and drifted for three hours.  I can remember the Chief Executive Elma Murray calling to find out where on earth we were as we were holding things up.

‘We didn’t want to call for help as that would have led to a bigger carry-on than necessary, so we managed to get another rib to come and collect us before we managed to make it over to the mainland.

‘I suppose it’s all in a day’s work.’

Gus is now looking forward to spending time with his wife Sharon – who also retired this year- playing golf, sailing and building a house for his daughter and son in law.

Summing up a successful career over many years Gus said: ‘It has been a full-on job. Working as an island officer encompasses such a wide and diverse range of jobs. After nearly 30 years, it’s time to call it a day. A big thanks to all my colleagues over the years and, of course, all those on the island who have been such a support to me and made my job much easier.’



Retiring island officer Gus Macleod pictured on his last day of work after nearly three decades with North Ayrshire Council. 01_B26gus01