TRIBUTES have been paid to a “champion” of the independence cause who died yesterday.

Jim Lynch was the former editor and board member of the Scots Independent, a monthly pro-independence newspaper which has been in operation since 1928.

The newspaper’s current editor Grant Thoms confirmed Lynch’s passing on Twitter yesterday, writing: “Very sad news. I have heard today that my predecessor as editor, Jim Lynch, died this morning. He had been in hospital for some time following a fall. He was an SI board member when he stepped up to be editor for a 3 month period. 10 years later he handed on the baton to me.”

Figures from across the independence movement reached out to share their memories of Lynch in return.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “so sad” to learn the news, recalling that Lynch had been a regular in Holyrood’s press gallery during his time editing the Scots Independent.

“He championed the independence cause passionately – and he was a truly lovely man. I thought the world of him and valued his wisdom. We will miss him,” she added.

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Michael Russell, former Scottish constitution secretary and now SNP president, described Lynch as a “real pillar” of the movement.

“He saved the SI at a difficult time and restored it to relevance by dint of hard work and determination,” he said. Russell also remembered Lynch’s presence at FMQs and how he “brightened up many a Thursday” in the Parliament.

Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest-serving MP, said Lynch was “one of the best”.

“Jim came to help me in every campaign and was a patient editor for all my scribblings for the SI,” the Perth and North Perthshire representative wrote. “RIP.”

Kate Higgins, a former adviser to the First Minister, remembered some of her “happiest afternoons” during the 2014 independence referendum were spent canvassing with Lynch.

“He was great company and no one better at persuading No voters to Yes,” she said. “Our cause has lost another colossus.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, sent his thoughts to Lynch’s loved ones. “I had the pleasure in my early years in the SNP to be in the same constituency as Jim,” Blackford wrote. “There were a number of young turks around at the time such as [John Swinney and Peter Murrell]. Jim would try and keep us straight!”

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Holyrood’s former presiding officer Tricia Marwick also shared her memories of Lynch, who had stood as a candidate in her area during the 70s.

“Jim first stood for the SNP in Central Fife in 1979,” she wrote. “There was nothing in it for him. He stepped up to keep the flame alive. When I won Central Fife in 2007 I paid tribute to Jim. He was the giant on whose shoulders I stood. Condolences to Peter and his family. RIP.”

In recent years Lynch has been a regular contributor to The National’s letters pages.