Obituary: Alan Meldrum, 56

Alan Meldrum had a passion for VWs, rowing and bicycles
Alan Meldrum had a passion for VWs, rowing and bicycles
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Alan Meldrum, an engineer who helped provide news coverage of the Lockerbie bombing and the Braer Oil Disaster, has died, aged 56.

Born in Dunfermline, Mr Meldrum spent much of his boyhood in Zambia, where his father worked as a mine engineer. He later returned to Edinburgh and was educated at Heriot’s.

For a few years after school he worked for Edinburgh Council’s planning department, before reading for a communications degree at the University of Kent. He first met wife-to-be Jenni Barrett at a disco at Edinburgh and the pair married in September 1982.

Mr Meldrum joined the BBC in Scotland in 1983, first as a radio engineer before moving to outside television broadcasts and operating a UKI 234 satellite van.

During this part of his career Mr Meldrum was responsible for covering important news events. These included the Pan Am Flight 103 Lockerbie tragedy in 1988, the Braer oil tanker disaster off Shetland in 1993, and many party conferences.

In 2006, Mr Meldrum moved to the Scottish Parliament where he became operations manager for the broadcast office.

There, he was responsible for continuous live broadcasts from debating chambers or committee rooms, upon which both the BBC and STV relied.

His imperturbability and reliability in a crisis, understanding of electrics, electronics and mechanics as well as his community involvement won him wide respect.

Proof of his determination and courage came when he was discussing carrying out repairs to his 1970s VW camper and planning for Queensferry rowing clubs’ two skiffs just days before succumbing to bowel cancer.

A VW enthusiast, Mr Meldrum’s campervan speedometer had been twice around the clock, and he would attend petrolhead gatherings to discuss sources for replacement panels, or hard-to-find parts for old Beetles. Aside from rowing, another of his many interests was cycling.

Several bicycles clogged the halls of his South Queensferry home, the Black Castle on High Street.

He and Jenni joined the Edinburgh to St Andrews cycle run in June despite his illness.

Professionally, he was a confident yet courteous engineer working for television and radio. He was said to have a journalist’s feel for communications, anticipating what would be needed where and when to get the message and picture out.

Many remember his celebrated collection of poor taste shirts, his technical backup for Queensferry’s ghost walk troupe ferry scare or for him growing a raffish moustache for charity.

All will remember him for his kindness.

He is survived by his wife Jenni.