BRUCE James McFee was born on 18th May 1961 in Johnstone. His mother hailed from Edinburgh, and his father from Port Glasgow, and they settled in the West Renfrewshire village of Howwood, where Bruce was raised along with his older brother, Duncan. His father worked in Ferguson’s the shipyard in Port Glasgow.

As a pupil at Johnstone High School Bruce was not obsessed with football like many boys of that era, but discovered he had an aptitude for the emerging subject of Modern Studies, and also enjoyed related social sciences such as history and economics. According to one former Renfrewshire Councillor who Bruce was at Johnstone High with in the 1970s, the results of general elections were of far more importance to the young Bruce McFee than the fortunes of any football team at the weekend. This was a portend of things to come.

At the age of 17 Bruce joined the Scottish National Party in his home village of Howwood, and those who knew him then could see that he was politically mature far beyond his years. On his way home from High School he would drop into to see his fellow members, and regale them with fundraising and promotional ideas for the Party, so much, they had to arm-twist him into going home to get his dinner and do his homework.

Although the 1983 general election had been a disaster for the SNP Bruce was keen to stand for the Party at the forthcoming district elections in 1984 and he cut his teeth in the then Tory citadel of Kilbarchan. He did not win, but came a very respectable second.

Between 1984 and 1988 Bruce was a key figure in transforming the fortunes of the SNP across West Renfrewshire, he organised paper candidates in areas where they had been none before, ran fundraisers to pay for their campaigns, and flooded the streets of Kilbarchan, Howwood, Lochwinnoch, and other villages with snappy soundbites and ripping yarn newsletters that made the Sun newspaper look like the Womens Weekly.

This approach paid off and Bruce was elected Councillor for Kilbarchan in 1988 to make up a small band of three tartan musketeers in Renfrew District Council, himself, Jim Mitchell and Alistair Nimmo. Later in the early 1990s they were joined by a young Iain Nicolson, who became an essential part of Team McFee as the years went on and is now the leader of Renfrewshire Council.

The talents of Bruce at fundraising brought him to the attention of the SNP Leadership and SNP Leader, Gordon Wilson, appointed him as the first ever official Fundraiser for the Party in 1988, and Bruce held this post for a few years. It was through this job that he met another HQ staff member, the SNP’s Media Officer, Chris McLean, and along with other leading Nationalists, Gil Paterson, and Iain Lawson, they established the Challenge of the 90s.

This was a new fundraising strategy to put SNP fundraising for national elections on a professional footing for the first time.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall new markets were opening up in the former Iron Curtain countries and by the early 90s Bruce was working in the pest control field for Iain Lawson. Together they made several trips to the newly liberated Estonia and it was here that Bruce met the woman that was to become his wife, Iris.

In 1999 both the elections to the new Scottish Parliament and the local elections were held on the same day and Bruce polled the highest percentage of the vote of any candidate that year in the whole of Renfrewshire, 71% for the SNP in the Kilbarchan Ward. Over the following years Bruce decided to seek nomination for the Scottish Parliament. He stood as the SNP Scottish Parliamentary Candidate for West Renfrewshire in 2003, and was elected as a list MSP for the West of Scotland Region.

In 2010 Bruce and Iris received the happy news that she was pregnant with twins. And on December 14, 2010 Marten and Erik were born. However the boys had significant health problemsl, but Bruce brought his characteristic dedication to detail to support the boys as much as possible. Sadly in January 2014 Marten unexpectedly died. It is a mark of how Bruce McFee was a hero amongst men that faced with the health challenges his family faced he gave ABR classes – designed to help children with cerebra palsy – across the UK to help families facing similar difficulties.

In terms of his contribution to national SNP politics Bruce McFee brought a deep knowledge of planning law and procedure to Holyrood from his days as a Renfrewshire councillor.

Cllr Andy Doig, BA Hons (Div)