DAVID Valentine, former head of economic development and environment and consumer protection at Angus Council, was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours list.
David (60), who retired last November after 37 years in local government, was instrumental in forging the links between Angus and Yantai in the Shandong Province in China – links which continue to thrive today.
Born in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, Mr Valentine moved to Scotland to study town and regional planning at Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee.
After graduating he started his career as a development plan officer with Angus Council before moving to ‘implementation’ in the planning department. As his job evolved, so too did the title, ending with his retirement in November with the longest title in Angus Council – head of economic development and environment and consumer protection.
He said: “I got my first post in Forfar after graduating and decided to stay here because I just got right into the community and loved the county.”
Reflecting on his 37 year career, which included creating and developing the Carnoustie Country golf brand and establishing various tourism initiatives under the Angus Ahead campaign, he highlighted his work in China as perhaps his greatest achievements, both on a personal and professional level.
He took the first trade mission to Yantai in 1998, with Angus twinning with Yantai in January, 1999.
He said: “Through this relationship we have built links all over China and have supported companies in various provinces.
“Through government connections we were able to reinforce existing links and opened doors for new links for trade between companies, including Ritchie of Forfar and W. M. Stewart, hacklemakers, owned by J & D Wilkie of Kirriemuir.
“China has been huge both in my work and in my life, but it was a very small part of my overall responsibilities.”
David is now planning to develop more links with China in his retirement. He has been asked to design a Scottish street for the tourist industry in north east China and will also be involved in a couple of Scottish festivals in China, as well as being an intermediate for various projects.
He continued: “Some of these projects will continue to promote Angus and to develop the links we have begun – we have only just started.”
David’s work in China was recognised in March 2008 when he was made an honorary citizen of Yantai for his role in developing the links between the city and Angus, and in the November of the same year he was named Angus Ambassador of the Year.
Away from work, David has also played an important role in the Forfar community. He was chairman of the Wellbrae PTA, was a member of the Forfar Academy School Board, is a past master of Lodge Kilwinning no. 90, has been a member of Forfar Rotary Club for 18 years and served on the local Scout committee.
He was also chairman of the Business Gateway Scotland for the past three years, stepping down from this role in October prior to his retirement.
David and his wife Margaret have two sons – Iain who lives in Edinburgh with his wife Karen and their two children – Lewis and Zoe, and Alan who lives in Bristol with his wife Claire.
Commenting on his award, which recognises his services to local government and the community in Angus, David said: “It was a great privilege and a pleasant surprise to be recognised in this way.
“As well as being a great honour to me and my family it is also a tribute to my former colleagues in local government and fellow members of local voluntary organisations such as Rotary who go the extra mile when serving our local community.”
Angus Councillor Iain Gaul, leader of the local authority added: “I am pleased for David on a personal level and also it reflects all the good work that’s been done by Angus Council in bringing tourists to Angus.
“It also reflects his hard work with tourism projects like Angus Ahead and the work he has done in China.
“It shows Angus has been punching above its weight for a long time. It’s a challenge to us all to carry on with that work and perhaps do it a little bit better. We can always be bigger and better.”