James spent a lifetime as a true fisherman’s friend

James Strachan Buchan
James Strachan Buchan
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James Strachan Buchan, who founded JSB Supplies Ltd in Leith and became a director with the Fishermen’s Association, has died suddenly of a heart attack, aged 71.

Mr Buchan set up the ship chandler company in Edinburgh, after working for 20 years at Cosalt. As managing director of JSB Supplies Ltd he opened depots in Port Seton, Fraserburgh, Arbroath, Buckie and Tarbert.

For a significant part of his adult life Mr Buchan was also heavily involved in the politics of the fishing industry and backed complete withdrawal from the common fisheries policy. As a director of the Fishermen’s Association Limited he spent a lot of time travelling extensively to promote this idea and his view that fisheries should be restored to national control.

Originally from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Mr Buchan was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and go into the wheelhouse, but sight problems quickly scuppered his plans in this regard.

Instead, he went to work for his father, a retired herring drifter skipper, at the small ship chandlery, the Energy Supply Stores and grocery he owned in his hometown.

Following this, Mr Buchan was offered the position of salesman at the Grimsby- based ship chandlers Cosalt and through his work he soon became a well-known figure in every Scottish fishing port.

Mr Buchan was extremely committed to his work and irrespective of rain, hail or shine, or time of day or night, he always endeavoured to ensure skippers who called him from remote piers received the fishing items they needed.

Mr Buchan matched his tremendous work ethic with a talent for sales and before setting up his own company, an ambition he had entertained for some time, he spent the latter period of his Cosalt career as chief Scottish salesman.

Several years ago the grandfather of eight was asked to run the fish selling side of the Cockenzie and Port Seton Fisherman’s Mutual Association and despite his ailing health, Mr Buchan once again seized the opportunity.

As a testament to the popularity and respect Mr Buchan gained during his life, the Viewforth Gospel Hall, where he and his wife had spent many years in fellowship, was deemed too small to accommodate all those who wished to attend his funeral.

As a result the service was held in Chalmers Memorial Church, which was crowded out with friends and relatives from across the country wishing to pay their final respects.

He is survived by Agnes, whose father was also a Peterhead Drifter skipper, and his two daughters, Suzanne a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology in Cambridgeshire, and Gwendolynn, an associate specialist in paediatrics in Angus.