WITH the election campaigns for all the parties well under way, the Guide & Gazette is taking an opportunity to look at the career of one local councillor who is moving on to pastures new next month.
Peter Murphy has been a councillor for Carnoustie since 1999 and before that was involved with the community council for five years.
In his ‘retirement’ Peter will take over the chair of the Carnoustie Centre Action Group as Rodger Brunton steps down.
He said: “This is something that is very close to my heart.The idea is that this would provide a centre point for all activities in Carnoustie for all age groups.
“We’ve got until the end of June 2013 to put together a successful application for Big Lottery funding.”
The project is expected to cost around £1.8 million, and to secure funding from the Big Lottery Fund they must raise half the money themselves, £300,000 of which they have already succeeded in raising.
There is also the possibility that financial backing might come from the Corse Hill Windfarm Community Forum set up by West Coast Energy who are building wind turbines between Carnoustie and Arbroath.
Peter explained: “We’re looking for some financial help from the community turbine that West Coast Energy are putting up between here and Arbroath.
“It’s good to get the project to wash it’s own face and be in a position to financially look after itself.”
Peter is originally from Aberdeen, and moved with his family in 1972 to take a post as head teacher at Logie Secondary School in Dundee.
He then moved to Whitfield High School and was the founding rector there from 1976 until 1993 when he retired at age 60.
Not content with an idle retirement he developed his interest in writing, which led him to publish a biography on radical educator R.F. Mackenzie.
Peter said: “He was one of those guys that didn’t believe in corporal punishment but believed in learning by discovery.
“He preferred taking kids up the hills for adventures. One of his former pupils was famous Scottish mountaineer Hamish Brown.”
Peter’s political career started in 1995 when he unsuccessfully stood as a Labour candidate for Carnoustie, and then again in 1998 which saw him lose by just 60 votes.
But then in 1999 he was finally elected and formed part of the opposition for the next eight years, and was interestingly the first elected Labour representative in Carnoustie since 1946.
Councillor Murphy has been involved in many projects during his time. For him the highlights have included his role with the West Point Action Group which saved the Fairway Garage and other significant buildings from being demolished to make way for the new health centre.
He was also involved in siting the health centre in the west end of town, the founding of the Carnoustie Allotments Association and the upgrade to the beach board walk.
In addition Peter has been active in his role of Depute Provost attending centenaries, diamond weddings, opening ceremonies and even a trade mission to Yantai, Shandong Province, China.
He added: “I’ve spent over 37 years in the teaching profession and 13 years as a councillor, so you could say that I have spent over 50 years in public service of one kind or another.”
In his spare time he keeps bees, and supplies honey to The Granary, is keen to rediscover his passion for running, hopes to bag his last 83 Munros to make the full set and intends to visit his family more often, scattered as they are between Shetland, Carnoustie, Dubai and Taiwan.
n See a video of Peter commenting on some of his highlights at http://www.guideandgazette.co.uk/news/local-headlines/video-retiring-councillor-names-highlights-1-2251142|Councillor’s highlights|Peter Murphy names some of his career highlights.