Obituary: Sir Garth Morrison, former Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian, 70

Sir Garth Morrison
Sir Garth Morrison
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THE former Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian has died following a short illness, aged 70.

Sir Garth Morrison was arguably best known for his 40-year involvement in the Scout movement where he became Chief Scout and head of the Scout Association from 1988 to 1996.

Born in Edinburgh in 1943, he moved to England for schooling and on to the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon, where he received the prestigious Queen’s Telescope award, and later Cambridge University (Pembroke College) where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1966.

He served as an engineering officer in the Royal Navy for 12 years, most of this time serving in nuclear submarines, retiring with the rank of lieutenant in 1973.

He married Gillian Cheetham in July 1970 and they went on to have two sons and a daughter on the family farm in West Fenton, near Gullane.

After retiring from the navy, Sir Garth held numerous positions in the Scout Association, starting in 1973, including the Area Commissioner for East Lothian and Chief Commissioner for Scotland. He received Scouting’s Silver Wolf Award in 1982, becoming Chief Scout in 1988.

He was credited for many of the changes that led to the growth of Scouting in Scotland and the UK, tackling stereotypes and he was instrumental in the inclusion of girls in Scouting.

Sir Garth was heavily involved in the Promise Appeal, which culminated in 1992 with fundraising activities by Scout groups across the UK, including seeking grants from the corporate sector, helping to raise £2.5 million.

He served as Deputy Lieutenant for East Lothian from 1984 to 2001 before being appointed Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian in 2001, an honorary post he held until his death.

Two of his proudest moments were being appointed to the Order of the Thistle by the Queen in 2007 and being invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Westminster Abbey in 2011.

He was a member of the Society of High Constables and the Guard of Honour at the Palace of
Holyroodhouse, and on the boards of various organisations, including the Lothian and Borders Committee of the Royal Jubilee and Prince’s Trust, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the National Lottery Charities. Wearing his farmer’s hat, he was a past president of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland.

Sir Garth and Lady Gill demonstrably gave back to their local community, around their farm and throughout East Lothian, developing Muirfield Riding Therapy, part of Riding for the Disabled.

He died at home in West Fenton after a brief illness, and is survived by his wife, sons Alastair and Chris, daughter Clare and six grandchildren.