Obituary: Stewart Boyd, 73

Stewart Boyd will be fondly remembered. Picture: comp
Stewart Boyd will be fondly remembered. Picture: comp
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A towering figure in the nautical life of the Lothians has died at the age of 73 following a battle with prostate cancer.

Stewart Boyd was secretary of the Royal Yachting Association Scotland for 17 years and a recipient of the Distinguished Services to Yachting in the UK award, presented by Princess Anne in 2005.

Mr Boyd was the youngest of three brothers and was born in Edinburgh in 1940. His father, James Boyd, was a chartered accountant, and his mother Elspeth worked in the George Heriot’s Trust office.

A pupil at George Heriot’s School, he developed a lifelong passion for rugby and excelled in the debating chamber, before joining the Royal Navy section of the school’s Combined Cadet Force and quickly becoming Cadet Chief Petty Officer.

But a career in the services failed to materialise after his application to Dartmouth Royal Naval College was rejected, and so he turned his hand instead to journalism, joining The Scotsman in April 1958.

He was appointed picture editor in 1972, and remained in the post for 20 years, producing the newspaper’s annual calendar of Scottish scenery. Latterly, he was a regular judge at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo photographic competition until retiring in 2012.

Despite his early disappointment, he never lost his passion for the open sea and was a member of a variety of yachting clubs and associations, including the Royal Forth Yacht Club and Dunbar Sailing Club. In 1978, he was made vice-chairman of Leith Nautical College, a position he held until its closure in 1987.

His passion for sailing was encouraged by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Alexander, who he married in 1964 and whose own contribution to the running of RYA Scotland was honoured with a special award before her death in 2008. Mr Boyd was an honorary member and past Commodore of Forth Corinthian Yacht Club and also worked at the Forth Yacht Clubs’ Association organising numerous successful events.

In 1993, he was made secretary of RYA Scotland, overseeing events including the Edinburgh ISAF Conference, the Tall Ships week and the annual Cruising Symposiums. He stepped down from the role in 2010 at the age of 70.

Alongside these official roles, Mr Boyd still found the time to give his active support to several charitable causes associated with sailing, including Bells Nautical Trust and the Seagull Trust, where he played Santa to young disabled passengers every Christmas.

Outside of sailing, Mr Boyd was a life member of Lismore Rugby Club and a long-term member and former president of Merchiston Curling Club.

He is survived by his two brothers, David and Douglas, nieces and nephews, a great niece and great nephews. A memorial service was held in his honour at Mortonhall Crematorium last week.