Tributes pour in for Stewart McIntosh

  • 12 Nov 2021

The journalist, trade unionist and activist has died aged 73.

From leaving school at 15 with no qualifications to become a steel worker, he went on to gain an honours degree in Scottish and English Literature, receive commendations for his poetry, lead the National Union of Students Scotland, won 16 national Press awards, and found the Glasgow Marathon, a running magazine and an online property magazine.

He joined the NUJ in 1983 and was a member of West of Scotland Freelance Branch, which he later chaired, and in 2003 and 2004 was a member of Scottish Executive Council. The branch merged with Glasgow branch in 2010 and Stewart remained a member until 2019 when ill health led to a lapsed membership just short of qualifying for life membership at 36 years.

Born in Rutherglen in 1948, he started work at Hallside Steel Works to contribute to the family income. But he took to night shifts to study at Langside College by day, eventually gaining the qualifications to go to Strathclyde University.

There he won the university poetry prize, had his poetry published, won debating society awards and contributed to the student newspaper, becoming its editor. From president of Strathclyde Students' Union he was elected president of the National Union of Students Scotland from 1975-77. He led large rallies against racism and in support of student grants and free tuition fees.

After graduation he worked for the Scottish Trades Union Congress under general secretary Jimmy Milne. He moved to writing for the then Glasgow Herald and the Daily Record and to reporting for BBC Scotland.

In 1983 he went freelance, writing for The Sunday Times, Scottish Business Insider, The Scotsman, Sunday Herald, Business AM, Estates Gazette and Property Week, among others. He specialised in property journalism, winning 16 national Press awards and was named UK Property Journalist of the Year no fewer than nine times.

He also became a media coach with clients including Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, The Times Group, The Miller Group, Insider Custom Publishing and Editions Publishing. He called one of his seminars “Trust Me – I'm a Journalist!”, which clients did because he was highly respected in his field.

With two colleagues he launched on online commercial property magazine, It was not his only venture into publishing. A keen distance runner from his teens, he co-founded the monthly Scotland’s Runner, which ran from 1986 until 1993.

He helped to start the Glasgow Marathon, now the Great Scottish Run. He himself won the Ben Lomond hill race and a top-100 place in the London Marathon with a time of 2:44:57.  The centre of his life, though, was his “three girls”: wife Marion, daughters Morag and Rona and his grandchildren.
Francis Shennan

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