Obituary: Alex Wilkie, 104

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ALEX Wilkie, policeman, stocktaker and comedian, has died, aged 104.

He was born in Montague Street in Newington, the son of Thomas, a brass finisher, and his wife Mary. Alex had four older siblings and one younger.

When he was four, the family moved to Watson Crescent, Polwarth. He went to Merchiston School and joined North Merchiston Boys Club.

Leaving school at 14, he started work at the North British Rubber Company, but continued his education through a correspondence course and joined the Metropolitan Police in 1932.

He and Betty were married in 1934, at The Plaza in Morningside, having first met at a boys club dance when he was 18.

In London, they lived first in Peckham, then Camberwell, and Betty worked as a counter clerk at the post office in The Strand.

When the Second World War broke out, Mr Wilkie was transferred to Marlborough Street Magistrates’ Court in Soho.

He spent 14 years there and was promoted to sergeant warrant officer in 1950 before retiring in 1957.

During his 25 years with the Met and before his transfer to the courts, he received eight commendations for catching thieves.

After his retirement, they moved to Bushey, Hertfordshire, where he took over the running of a Victoria Wine shop.

The family moved back to Edinburgh in the late 1950s and bought a house near the Pentland Hills.

Mr Wilkie became a stocktaker at Drybrough’s Brewery, being promoted to head stocktaker in 1964, and later serving as a stocktaker-supervisor for the Stewart Trust.

He was a keen bowler and became president of Currie Bowling Club in 1965 and 1966, later serving more than 25 years as honorary president.
He also became well known as an after-dinner speaker and a sought-after stand-up comic at party nights across the city.

His first gig was in the 1970s at an Edinburgh bowling club. He went from strength to strength and was booked for after-dinner speaking, prize-givings and charity bashes at least six times a year for the next three decades.

He was hailed as Edinburgh’s oldest comedian, still telling gags and entertaining audiences at 95.

For his 95th birthday he donned the dog collar of Rikki Fulton’s Reverend IM Jolly to perform in front of more than 100 people at Currie Bowling Club.

He revelled in black humour, a style he said he honed working in the mean streets of London.

After reaching 100, he took part in a study of centenarians by Surrey University, sharing the story of his long life and his belief that it had been all down to good fortune.

Widowed some 25 years ago, he is survived by his daughter Jennifer, grandchildren Paul and Debbie and six great-grand-children.