Obituary: Ian Isles, 97

Ian Isles was active in both rugby and golf circles. Picture: contributed
Ian Isles was active in both rugby and golf circles. Picture: contributed
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Ian Isles, a former general manager of the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society and ex-captain of Mortonhall Golf Club, has died, aged 97.

Born in Dundee on August 24, 1917, Ian studied at Dundee High School until 1934, when he joined Scottish Equitable with a view to taking the actuarial examinations.

The outbreak of the Second World War interrupted his studies and he “signed up”, joining the 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry. They were sent to Tunis in 1942 as a reconnaissance regiment of the 6th Armoured Division and on April 25, 1943, Ian led a reconnaissance party towards Pont du Fahs. Despite coming under continuous shell-fire, they reached their objective and returned with valuable information about the German defensive positions. For his part, Ian was awarded a Military Cross (MC).

In 1946 Ian returned to Scottish Equitable and in 1947 became a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries.

Having qualified as an actuary, Ian held several posts before being appointed assistant general manager in 1960, becoming general manager on the retirement of his predecessor in 1962. Ian served his professional body in various roles; he was on the Board of Examiners (1958-60), honorary librarian (1961-5), honorary treasurer (1974-6) and vice-president (1977-81).

Ian was a strong believer in the important role played by life assurance in providing security for members of the public and was particularly concerned at the losses incurred by policyholders as a result of insurance company failures in the 1970s. He later played an important role in the creation of the Policyholders’ Protection Fund.

A keen sportsman, Ian represented his office at football, cricket, skittles, golf, bridge and badminton. He enjoyed rugby both as a player and a supporter. He had played rugby at school and on leaving joined Edinburgh Borderers RFC. When he stopped playing, he continued his membership and in due course was elected honorary vice-president.

For many years he was a familiar figure as a steward in the West Stand at Murrayfield. He was a member of Mortonhall Golf Club, where he had two terms as captain, 1963-5 and 1979-80, and Luffness Golf Club.

Ian enjoyed the social life associated with his various activities – his motto could have been “work hard and enjoy life”. He was a member of the Scottish Actuaries club and its chairman in 1976-7.

Ian married Betty Boyd, who was herself an actuarial student, in 1947. They had three children Donald, Morna and Keith, who between them had four children, one of whom, Douglas, qualified as an FFA in 1999. At the time of his death Ian had five great-grandchildren.

Paul Grace