A Nation Reborn: FATHER FIGURE; First Minister Donald Dewar's Memory Lives on in the Magnificent Library at the Heart of Holyrood

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), October 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

A Nation Reborn: FATHER FIGURE; First Minister Donald Dewar's Memory Lives on in the Magnificent Library at the Heart of Holyrood


Byline: DAVID WHITTON, Donald Dewar's special adviser

FIVE years ago when the Queen came to officially open Scotland's new Parliament it was First Minister Donald Dewar who acted as her escort.

Yesterday, after the ceremony to officially open the Parliament's magnificent new home, her tour of the building took her to the room that bears his name.

After his death four years ago, the Parliament decided to honour their first First Minister. After consulting his family it was decided there could beno better memorial than something that would combine his twin passions of politics and books.

As she toured the Dewar Room yesterday, the Queen met Donald's daughter Marion and son Ian and saw the magnificent library they donated.

Marion, who lives in Brussels, said: 'When dad died there were many suggestions made to the family to honour his name. A statue was built in Glasgow, the Daily Record and Sunday Mail set up a Journalism School and in the annual Scottish Politician of the Year Awards, there is the Dewar prize given for the best debater.

'We were then approached by the Parliamentary authorities who asked if they could also do something in the new Parliament building.

'We decided the most appropriate memorial would be something that could combine the two things he most enjoyed - politics and books.'

For Ian, his dad's love of books had caused a different problem. A keen carpenter, he'd been given the job of installing bookshelves in his dad's new flat.

He said: 'Until I moved in to stay with him for a while I did not realise just how many books he had collected. …

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