Obituary: Robin Cavaye, businessman, 80

Robin Cavaye's gentle manner made him an excellent salesman
Robin Cavaye's gentle manner made him an excellent salesman
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Robin Cavaye, a well-known local businessman and church elder has died, aged 80.

Throughout his life, Mr Cavaye was never in robust health, but his determination overcame that and many of life’s other obstacles.

Born in the Capital in January, 1932, he was a Royal High School boy from the age of five and went on to study law at university.

Despite his academic achievements, however, he had to abandon any thoughts of a career in law as he was called into the family business, MacGregor & Co, china and glass merchants.

The business in Constitution Street was born in the hard financial times of the 1930s, when his father had to go forth to sell his wares to local public houses.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, families began to wine and dine in restaurants, and the Cavayes progressed to become the main supplier of such wares throughout the country.

Mr Cavaye was the second son in a new generation to run the business, though his gentle and persuasive manner suited him to sales and he eventually became sales director.

In 1972, the company moved to a large new building in West Savile Terrace in Edinburgh, and in 1979 Mr Cavaye and wife Kate moved to Cluny Gardens.

In 1982, however, he suffered two heart attacks and had to leave the business to be run fully by his older brother Bill.

Mr Cavaye took to the quieter life of business consultancy, and then in 1986 Kate, who always had a love of jewellery, suggested they set up an entirely new business. The couple took over the Scottish Gems business on Morningside Road, later expanding to a shop on the High Street.

That proved a huge success, and in 2002 they decided to leave the business to their sales assistant on generous terms. At last they had free time to visit the world at home and abroad.

Mr Cavaye was also a member of the Portobello and Musselburgh Round Table from the 1960s onwards.

The Reid Memorial Church, in which he was an elder, was packed for his funeral recently, an indication that he touched the lives of many.

The last word comes from his wife Kate: “He was always fun.”