The man who stood against Tavish Scott in this year’s Scottish parliamentary elections, Danus Skene, has died.
SNP member Mr Skene died during the early hours of this morning following surgery in London.
Local party convener Robbie McGregor told The Shetland Times he had lost a good friend, while the SNP had lost a “loyal and able servant”.
“I won’t forget that he showed tremendous character in fighting the election following his recent illness. He was just a lovely guy.
“I’m certainly going to miss his humour, and I’m sure Shetland will miss the contribution he made to island life, and we in the SNP will miss the contribution he made to Scottish independence.”
Speaking about the health difficulties Mr Skene experienced during the Holyrood campaign, he added: “Danus thought that he had let us down in some way, and that in some way he wasn’t able to fight it properly – but that was far from the case.
“His standards were so high. He was concerned he couldn’t spend every hour of every day knocking on doors, so that left him quite frustrated. But I had no issues with the campaign he fought.”
In a short statement. Mr McGregor said: “I am deeply sorry that I and the SNP have lost a good friend and servant.
“Our thoughts at this time are with his family to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.”
Mr Skene stood for the SNP in this year’s Holyrood elections But his campaign was blighted by ill health.
He lost to Mr Scott by a large majority – but only last year he cut Alistair Carmichael’s majority by a significant margin when he stood against the former Scottish Secretary in the Westminster elections.
In a statement, Mr Carmichael said: “This is sad news. I know that Danus had not kept good health for some time but when I spoke to him last month he appeared to be on the mend and was clearly enjoying time with his family who were then in Shetland.
“He was a very intelligent man who was passionate about his politics but was always reasoned in his argument.
“He will be missed by his many friends across the political spectrum and throughout Scotland and also in Africa where he had a longstanding and very practical commitment.”
The Westminster election’s Labour candidate, Gerry McGarvey, said: “I am very sorry to read this as I enjoyed Danus’ company and conversation during the General Election campaign in 2015.
“As was reported following The Althing debate at that time – described as “a two party love-in”, a very rare thing between SNP and Labour candidates – we had much in common.
“He was truly a gentleman and a scholar, and his death marks the passing of a particular kind of politician and politics.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues in the SNP.”
Mr Scott added: “I am sad to hear that Danus Skene has passed away and would express my condolences to his family, friends and party colleagues here in Shetland.”
Prior to his campaigning for Westminster and Holyrood elections, Mr Skene stood for the Lerwick North seat in the SIC elections in 2012.
Member for Lerwick North, convener Malcolm Bell, said Mr Skene had been “dignified, fair and hard-working”.
“I’m obviously shocked and saddened to hear that Danus has passed away. He was very active in Shetland public life and when we stood together in the council election in 2012, at Lerwick North, I found him to be a very dignified, fair and hard-working opponent.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Mr Skene also served as the chairman of Shetland Arts and was active in the Church of Scotland, serving as a Kirk elder.
Minister of St Columbus Church, Rev Dr Caroline Lockerbie said: “His death is a tremendous loss. He was a remarkable lover of people and of justice.”