Jim Leishman announced as new provost of Fife
Mr Leishman says he will use his sporting background to help engage a generation of disillusioned youngsters.
The 58-year-old says he will be honoured serve as the council’s provost, a position which lasts for the next four years.
He was appointed by a meeting of the full council today (thur), the first since elections were held earlier this month.
He won the vote in the council with 42 votes to 35.
Speaking after being elected provost, an emotional Mr Leishman said he felt much the same as when he took over as manager of Dunfermline Athletic at the age of 28.
As manager of Dunfermline Athletic he turned the team’s fortunes around in the 1980s, boosting attendance at matches and moving the team to the Premier Divison.
He said: “I’m still amazed, it’s all happened so quickly. It’s a great honour.
“I was asked to stand at a meeting of the Labour group last week. At first I thought, no, I’m a novice, I’ll never do it.
“But when I became manager of Dunfermline Athletic I had to learn very quickly.
“I’ll have to learn very quickly with this job as well. But I have people who will get me through the initial stages.
“I will be out there promoting Fife, at a local level and around the world.”
The former Pars manager has promised to bring about a sporting revolution in Fife.
He said: “I will be focussing on encouraging young kids to play sport, it doesn’t matter what kind of sport.
“I will be encouraging them to go and participate.
“Some young kids are disillusioned; they don’t want to fulfil their potential.
“If young people are not active they get bored, sometimes they get into trouble.”
He continued: “I would say my job is totally civic. I’m not a career politician but I am a person that cares about the people of Fife and I care about the beauty of Fife.”
Mr Leishman would regale his players with self-penned poems on football.
He was also known for his distinctive “aeroplane” celebration.
He played for the club for a period in the 1970s before an injury ended his career. When he started as manager the team were at the bottom of the Second Division.
The new position means he will earn £28,410 on top of his normal £16,000 salary as a councillor for the Dunfermline Central ward.
With 1608 votes the former Pars manager was the first councillor to be elected in the ward, ahead of other Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat candidates.
Labour emerged as the largest party in the council elections, winning
35 seats out of 78 on the council.
The council was previously controlled by the Liberal Democrats and SNP.
Mr Leishman’s wife died of cancer in 2009, and he set up a charity in her name, the Mary Leishman Foundation.
He completed a series of charity walks in 2010 which raised over £250,000.
Some of the challenges Mr Leishman will face in his new role, include the ongoing concerns at levels of radiation at Dalgety Bay in Fife, and the troubled Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
He will also be faced with Levenmouth’s child poverty problem. Charity Save the Children revealed earlier this year that in the Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss areas, up to 40 per cent of children are living below the breadline.
Currently, over 18% of workers in Fife earn below £7 per hour.
Just 17% of the poorest young people in Fife go to university, compared to an average of 35 per cent across the country.
Short URL: http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=51051