A LEADING light in disability equality in Dunfermline and West Fife has died at the age of 70.

Bill Gray was a founder of Dunfermline Advocacy and supported the development of several organisations including The Dunfermline Forum on Disability and Fife Independent Disability Network.

He was a panel member for Social Security appeals, a member of the Crown Office’s Equality Advisory Group and a committee member of Housing Options Scotland.

His efforts resulted in him being awarded an MBE for his services to Diversity and Disability Equality Training in 2010. He picked up the accolade from the Queen at Holyrood Palace in June that year accompanied by wife Margaret and daughters Louise and Alison.

Born and educated in Edinburgh, Bill met wife Margaret at a support group for young people with Multiple Sclerosis in the city.

After marrying in the capital, they soon moved to Dunfermline where they both got jobs in the local area before Bill was forced to give up his employment because of his health.

Following a family trip to the popular Hobbies and Recreational exhibition in the Glen Pavilion, Bill signed up to become a reader for talking newspaper Dunfermline Sound and read stories from the Dunfermline Press to its listeners for over 30 years.

He was also integral in the establishment of Gang Forth, an organisation which helped to get unemployed people back into the work place and got involved with the Dunfermline Forum on Disability.

A main driver behind the Dunfermline Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS), he then turned his attention to diversity and equality training and worked with many organisations including Fife Police, the Crown Office and Fife Health Board.

Bill was on the board of trustees of the Scottish Human Service (SHS) who provided training for organisations and staff members involved in the direct provision of care for people with special needs to promote better practices.

He then got involved in the inception of Dunfermline Advocacy which initially worked to support Lynebank Hospital residents. It saw volunteers come and stand beside people who didn't have anyone in their lives who was not paid to be there.

Thirty years later, the organisation is still working on the same principle of supporting vulnerable people.

Wife Margaret said her husband spent much of his life working with a host of organisations and groups.

"Life with Bill was that at any one time he was probably concurrently sitting on committees of at least four different organisations, committees or board of trustees," she said. "Often he would go to AGMs and I would say don't come back as chair or remember to resign!"

Since his death, tributes have been made to Bill and his work.

Dunfermline Advocacy's chairperson, Johnathan Doran, vowed to continue the work he started 30 years ago.

"We all owe an enormous debt to people like Bill who quietly, and unassumingly, better their communities through projects such as Dunfermline Advocacy," he said. "Having marked its 30th year of growth in his good company last year, we will all do our best to continue the charity’s story, with Bill having always played an important part.”

Housing Options Scotland's CEO Moira Bayne said Bill would be sorely missed.

"Without him, many thousands of people would be stuck in unsuitable housing," she said. "Bill has been on our board for almost three decades. He has been an integral part of the board and supported the organisation’s move from its former purpose, as Ownership Options in Scotland, to where we are today, supporting disabled people, older people, and veterans to consider their full range of housing options.

"He has made a huge contribution to our charity over the years."

A funeral service for Bill, who is survived by wife Margaret, his two daughters and four grandchildren, will take place at Dunfermline Crematorium on Monday.