TRIBUTES have been paid to a "champion" of the Dalgety Bay and Hillend community who has died at the age of 82.

Colin McPhail was chairperson of the community council for 28 years and helped transform the area – and was even responsible for the town's official crest.

He received an MBE for his services to the local community, an honour bestowed on him by the late Queen in 2004.

Former Prime Minister and Dunfermline East MP Gordon Brown was one of those to pay tribute to Colin after his death on Saturday.

"Colin McPhail was a great champion of the Dalgety Bay community," he said. "Over many years, he fought for the facilities and amenities, a new town needs. He campaigned for the clean-up of the radioactive material on the breach. He represented the needs of Dalgety Bay to local and national authorities.

"We were all delighted when we was honoured by the Queen for his work locally. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his wife and family."

The London-born chartered civil engineer moved to The Wynd in Dalgety Bay in 1980, when he took up the post of area engineer for the then-Lothian Regional Council.

Colin, who was married to Corrie and had three sons, Jamie, Sandy and Rob, and grandson Connor, served on the community council since 1982 and had been involved in the annual gala and numerous community events and organisations, as well as seeing the town change and grow from a small community to what it is now.

He helped transform the face of the town by dealing with major planning issues, among them obtaining consents for the bowling green at Harbour Drive and the day care centre in the 2000s.

He was at the forefront of opposition against controversial plans for a residential development on land at Barns Farm. He oversaw the town’s silver and golden jubilee celebrations in 1990 and 2015, introduced Christmas lights to the town and helped produce an information booklet about the Bay.

He also produced a history book for the millennium and published a novel titled Highland Spirit of Justice in 2005 and was a member of the Dalgety Players for more than 30 years.

The Dalgety Bay Sailing Club member was also involved heavily in the Rosyth Sea Cadet Unit and the Royal Naval Auxiliary Association (RNXS) while he was also an honourary member of the Forth Bridges Rotary Club.

His countless community achievements included obtaining a coat of arms for Dalgety Bay and Hillend in 1995, securing funding from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for a sculpture, now at the railway station, commemorating personnel who served at Donibristle Airyard from 1917 to 1959, involvement in the creation of the Hillend bypass and producing a paper on engineering options to deal with radium contamination at Dalgety Bay’s foreshore, which was then presented at an international conference of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2013.

Son Sandy said his dad was passionate about ensuring improvements were made in the town.

"What drove him was the joy of seeing other people benefit or changes being made for the better of people," he said. "He always put others first without a show."

Dalgety Bay and Hillend Community Council posted on Facebook that everyone involved with the organisation, past and present, was "deeply saddened" to hear of Colin's death.

They added: "We offer our condolences to all of the family."

Mid Fife and Scotland MSP Alex Rowley said Colin was a "tireless and dedicated worker" for the communities of Dalgety Bay and Hillend.

"I had the privilege to work with him on a number of campaigns and saw first-hand his no-nonsense approach to getting things done and standing up for local communities," he said. "Always kind and always encouraging others to get involved, Colin was a true gentleman and the local communities he supported are far better as a result. My deepest sympathy to his family."

A funeral service for Colin will take place at Dalgety Parish Church on Tuesday, December 20.