Cunison Rankin, who has died of suddenly aged 77, of a heart attack, was a chartered accountant, SNP stalwart and champion of the Scottish identity.

National chairman of the Saltire Society, he was passionate about the country’s culture and was a popular, entertaining and challenging man, his ebullient character far removed from the archetypal image of a dour bean counter.

A battler for Scotland, he stood three times for Parliament on the Nationalist ticket and held the office of the party’s national treasurer.

He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and music and put his accounting skills to expert use as treasurer of the Cantilena Music Festival on Islay.

Born Henry Cunison Deans Rankin, in Hamilton, he was affectionately known as Cunnie, and was educated at Hamilton Academy and Glasgow University, graduating MA and LLB in 1958. He qualified in the early 1960s and, after a range of experience in Scotland and in France – he married wife Edith in Paris in 1961 – in both the profession and industry, he joined the tax department of Arthur Young McLelland Moores and Company in Glasgow in 1967.

In 1970 he joined Graham Smart and Annan chartered accountants in Edinburgh where he became tax manager.

Mr Rankin, who only retired from his chartered accountancy business on Hogmanay 2009, was a lecturer in taxation and former director of student education at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland during the late 1970s and early 1980s. As such, he had a significant influence on the training of young chartered accountants and wrote the seminal tax book on corporation tax which is used by accounting students across the UK.

His long-standing loyalty to the SNP saw him stand as a parliamentary candidate for Lanark in 1966 and 1970 and for the North Angus and Mearns constituency in 1974. It was during the 1970s that he also became SNP treasurer.

He took over the reins of the Edinburgh-based Saltire Society in June 2007. Set up in the 1930s, by a group of individuals who saw a need to interest the Scots in their own culture, the organisation aims to preserve the best Scottish traditions and encourage new developments to enrich the country’s cultural life.

Rankin, who lived latterly in Carnock, Dunfermline, had been committed to the cause of the Scottish identity for many years and had been working to reinvigorate the Society, to raise its profile to bring it up to date as an organisation fit for the 21st century.

He also encouraged Saltire Society president, Lord Cullen, to lead a commission into the importance and relevance of the organisation in today’s world.

Ian Scott, Saltire council member and immediate past chairman of the Society said: “Cunnie was determinedly a great battler for Scotland’s culture in all its forms, particularly the things that inspired him like classical music, Scottish art and broadcasting.

“He had set in motion a whole lot of things that will be of benefit to the society and, by implication, to Scotland and its culture, by talking to the Scottish government and organising a conference on Scottish broadcasting, his favourite topic, due to be held this year. Many, many people will be very grieved by his passing.”

Mr Rankin had been involved in the Cantilena Music Festival since its inception 11 years ago. Artistic director Adrian Shepherd, a former principal cellist with the Scottish National Orchestra and a friend for 45 years said: “He was a great inspiration and you could describe him as a polyglot, he was so talented in so many fields. He was a tower of strength to us starting off the festival. He kept us sane.

“A season ticket holder for the SNO for many years and, he was interested in all forms of art and was also a very good essayist in his own right and extremely knowledgeable.

“He was a superb accountant and marvellous treasurer, with a great sense of humour. He was so ebullient he could walk into a room and light it up.”

Mr Rankin, who was also a devoted family man and greatly supported in all his interests by them, is survived by his wife and daughters Janet, Jean , Margaret and Helen.

Chartered accountant and former SNP treasurer

Born October 14, 1932

Died January 4, 2010

Alison Shaw