Obituary: Sir Andrew Gordon Manzie, 84

Sir Andrew Manzie worked his way to the top. Picture: Crown Copyright
Sir Andrew Manzie worked his way to the top. Picture: Crown Copyright
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A MAN who grew up in a council flat in Stenhouse and went on to become one of the UK’s top civil servants has died aged 84.

The son of a railway clerk, Sir Andrew Gordon Manzie was born in Longstone on April 3, 1930, and grew up in Stenhouse where he attended the local primary school.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939 he was evacuated to Collace, a tiny village in Perthshire, where he lived happily with a family of nine cousins, with whom he built lifelong friendships.

He returned to the Capital when he was ten and rejoined his classmates at Stenhouse Primary Scool, where he became joint dux.

A bright student, he won bursaries to both the Royal High School and George Heriot’s School, choosing the former and going on to became president of the Royal High School Club in London, serving for two terms in the 1980s.

He entered the civil service straight out of school at 17, after picking up a leaflet about jobs as a clerical officer.

Andrew scored top marks in the civil service exam, coming 65th out of 1100 people, and joined the Scottish Home and Health Department in 1947, where he started off in the central registry.

Working his way up through the ranks, he spent many years at the Department of Trade and Industry, where he spent time seconded to the Scottish Office as under secretary for industrial development.

His most challenging role was when he was made chief executive of the Property Services Agency in 1984, in order to clean up the organisation amid allegations of bribery and corruption.

He was knighted three years later and after he retired, chaired several large companies, winning major contracts for British firms at home and abroad. He was called up for national service in 1949 and served a two-year stint with the RAF at Hereford, in West Drayton, and Bridgnorth, in Shropshire.

It wasn’t until he was 30 that he gained a BSc in economics from London School of Economics, as he realised he needed a degree to progress his career.

He studied for his A-levels then worked on his degree in the evenings. In later years he became a governor, emeritus governor and honorary fellow at LSE.

He met his wife, Rosalind Clay, when they worked in the same section at the Ministry for Supply. They were married in her home of Blythe Bridge, Staffordshire, in 1955.

The couple had two children, Stella and Ian, and he became a grandfather to Ellen and Aodh.

Having been honoured with a CB in 1983, he was awarded a knighthood in 1987.

A lifelong Hearts fan, Sir Andrew remained true to his roots by becoming president of the Bishop’s Stortford Caledonian Society.

He died on September 24 in Harlow, Essex, aged 84.