We bid a fond farewell to some well-known figures from Edinburgh and the Lothians who passed away in the last 12 months
IT’S been a year of commemoration. From remembering the horrors of the First World War which began 100 years ago to those on the field at Bannockburn seven centuries ago, or the Boxing Day tsunami victims ten years past and the Bhopal chemical leak disaster 30 years in the distance now, lives lost have never been far from the headlines.
This year, too, has had its share of loss. Aeroplanes have gone missing or been shot down with hundreds dying as a result. Closer to home those who died in Glasgow before Christmas are still fresh in people’s thoughts.
Edinburgh, thankfully, has experienced no similar large loss of life, but individual deaths are sharply experienced, scarring the hearts of those left behind.
Many of our well-kent faces have gone this year too, and so here we commemorate them and their lives.
April 19, 1943 to April 4, 2014
POLITICIAN, activist, independent spirit, one-time pub landlady, former PE teacher, Hibs fan, broadcaster, campaigner, wife, mother, gran – Margo MacDonald was many things during her 70 years and was as vibrant in her final months as she was when she first burst on to the political scene in 1973, beating Labour to win the Glasgow Govan by-election for the SNP.
Despite failing to hold on to her seat in the 1974 election, and although it wasn’t until 1999 that she became an elected politician again, she made politics and the advancement of independence for Scotland her life’s work.
Originally from Hamilton, she made the Grange in Edinburgh her home and the city and wider Lothian region took her to their hearts.
She spoke up for prostitutes, supported the Hands off Hibs campaign, condemned the overspending on the parliament building and after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease took up the campaign for the legalisation of assisted suicide – she was still pressing ahead with it at the time of her death.
Married twice – to Peter MacDonald and then Jim Sillars, whom she met while campaigning in the 1979 devolution referendum – she had two daughters, Petra and Zoe, and ten grandchildren.
NORMAN MAIR MBE
October 7, 1928 to December 7, 2014
FOUR times he pulled on the Scotland jersey and headed out on to the turf as hooker for the nation’s rugby side – his debut against France in 1951. And then there were the times he put on his whites instead and played for the Scottish cricket team.
If he was one thing, Norman Mair was a lover of sport; playing it and later writing about it. Educated at Edinburgh Academy, then Merchiston Castle before studying law at Edinburgh University, for whom he played rugby, he became best known for his analytical and elegant writing on sports, be it cricket, tennis, golf or, of course, rugby.
His journalistic career began on Scotsport but he began working for the The Scotsman in the early 1960s, and his insight into Scotland’s other national game was such that he became a must-read for fans, players and coaches alike. Former Scottish coach Ian McGeechan even used him as a “sounding board” when selecting his squad.
1960 to February 21, 2014
SHE was the entrepreneur who put tea and cake firmly back on the menu in Edinburgh with her Alice in Wonderland style tearooms.
Gaynor Salisbury, originally from Liverpool, made a name for herself, and her mother Lorna, when she launched the first of two businesses in Morningside in 2008.
Loopy Lorna’s became an overnight sensation, then almost an institution in the five years which it operated, winning Gaynor, pictured right, an Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010, a year after her head chef won the award for Casual Dining Chef of the Year and then in 2012, her second teahouse in the Church Hill Theatre was named Best Independent Eatery of the Year.
Loopy Lorna’s was, she said, a tribute to her mum who had died in her late 60s from lung cancer – Gaynor caring for her in her home for the last six months of her life.
She always, said Gaynor, had her tea in a proper china cup. Yet in an ironic twist, just two months after the first tearoom opened in Morningside Road, Gaynor was herself diagnosed with breast cancer.
She fought it and won, but in 2012 she was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer. She became a campaigner for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, but failing health meant she had to close the doors of Loopy Lorna’s in 2013.
JAMES ALEXANDER GORDON
February 10, 1936 to August 18, 2014
HIS was the most familiar and distinctive voice on the BBC for more than 35 years as he read the classified football results; his even Edinburgh tones delivering the good or bad news to hundreds of thousands of fans as they tuned in with never a hint of a personal reaction to a triumph or a defeat.
He had just four seconds to communicate each result to get through the many tiers of British football leagues, and apparently decided on his approach – his inflections, his pauses – on his first day of the job in 1972, while reporting the game Arsenal v Manchester United.
CLARISSA DICKSON WRIGHT
June 24, 1947 to March 15, 2014
CLARISSA Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright – to give her her full name – was a cook, bookshop owner, writer and broadcaster who found fame as one half of TV’s Two Fat Ladies.
She and Jennifer Paterson took the world of food and drink by storm as the larger-than-life eccentric chefs who sped around country – one on a motorcycle, the other squeezed into the sidecar –telling everyone to eat more cream, more meat and more of everything as long as it was high in calories.
Born in London, her surgeon father and her mother were both of Scottish descent. She studied law at University College London and became the youngest woman – at the time – to be called to the bar at the age of 21.
By the end of the 1980s, she had reinvented herself as a knowledgeable cook, working in a cookery bookshop in London.
Moving to East Lothian, she then opened The Cook’s Bookshop in the Grassmarket – which lasted until she was declared bankrupt in 2004.
ALAN DAVIE CBE
September 28, 1920 to April 5, 2014
WITH his father a trained painter and etcher, it was perhaps unsurprising that Alan Davie would have artistic talents – but he went on to become, according to some, the greatest Scottish painter of the post-war period.
He was 17 when he started at Edinburgh College of Art where he was hugely influenced by William Gillies and Anne Redpath.
But his talents were not restricted to paint and easel and he experimented with textile design, jewellery making – which he later taught – and pottery. He had major exhibition successes through the 1950s with his abstract expressionism and his work was bought by important public galleries including the Tate and the MoMA in New York. He faded from the limelight as his work became more symbolic and mystical, but there were retrospectives, most notably at the Barbican in 1993 and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2000. A major exhibition of his work opened at Tate Britain in the week after his death.
January 2, 1924 to August 19, 2014
FROM being beaten by the Gestapo to teaching art at Portobello High School, the life of Zigi Sapietis is one which would make a blockbuster of a movie. He didn’t think he’d live past the age of 18, but he made it to 90.
The artist lived an extraordinary 90 years, surviving the brutal Latvian Riga Central Prison, Salaspils concentration camp and being forced to fight on the Russian front before escaping to Denmark in a submarine. He eventually reached Newbattle, and the grounds of his studio there are peppered with sculptures telling the tale of an exile, including wooden sculptures dedicated to those who lost their lives in the war.
In 1952, carrying all he owned in one suitcase, he arrived in Scotland where his cousin lived in Shandon.
He went to Edinburgh College of Art and then Moray House – where he met his wife Paula, who was living in exile from her native Zimbabwe – and taught for more than 20 years at Portobello.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Other public figures who died this year included:
REV CLIFFORD HUGHES, minister at St Mary’s Church, Haddington, former head of Loretto Junior School and one-time lyric tenor, aged 77.
Director of outdoor clothing and equipment firm DONALD TISO, aged 50.
Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra founder, music lover, gifted pianist and teacher MARY FIRTH, above, aged 92.
JAMES PITHIE, 1940s Hearts footballer and civil servant, aged 85.
Director of building control with Edinburgh City Council and keen amateur golfer RON COOPER, aged 77.
World-renowned antibiotics expert Professor RICHARD AMBLER, aged 80.
Hearts, Rangers and Scotland footballer SANDY JARDINE, aged 65.
DAVID EAGLESHAM, former general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, aged 63.
Health campaigner, entrepreneur and integral part of the Cockburn Street “jeans scene” IAN MORRISON, aged 57.
Author, oceanographer and the man who led the team which discovered the wreck of the Titanic, JOHN STEELE, aged 86.
Amateur football legend and recipient of eight Scottish Cup medals, Ronnie Travers, aged 57.
TOM LOGAN, 1960s Hearts player and leading physiotherapist, aged 72.
One of Scotland’s first female sanitary inspectors, RENE GRANT, aged 89.
TINO LUCA, left, the man who helped establish the Luca ice-cream brand, aged 91.
Former amateur and pro welterweight boxer and Macmerry lollipop man EDMUND “EDDIE” PHILLIPS, aged 84.
Volunteer DONALD HELM MBE, who dedicated more than 30 years to the National Trust for Scotland, aged 92.
Hibs ladies football coach MORGAN LYNN, right, aged 25.
COLIN COWAN, army officer, adviser to the UN, Cumbernauld new town developer and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, aged 93.
JOHN MICHAEL MURRAY, known as “Mr Windsor” because of his involvement with Musselburgh Windsor FC, aged 87.
Rudolf Steiner School teacher who endured forced labour under the Nazi regime in Austria, KARLA KINIGER, aged 92.
Edinburgh council’s first conference and tourist manager, JOHN McGHEE, aged 82.
Dedicated children’s charity worker, former Children 1st senior vice-chair RUTH SINCLAIR MBE, aged 86.
Dentist, footballer and Spartans FC chairman, “Mr Spartans” RONNIE SWAN, aged 85.
Pathologist who played a key role in helping the first UK kidney transplant – and church chorister – Dr MARY MACDONALD, aged 90.
Sister PATTY BURGESS, a botanist who became a nun in her 50s, died aged 97.
Former Hearts player STEVEN SLATER, aged 25.
Secretary of the Royal Yachting Association Scotland for 17 years, recipient of a Distinguished Services to Yachting award and former Scotsman picture editor STEWART BOYD, above, aged 73.
Racehorse owner of champion hurdler Sea Pigeon, PAT MULDOON, aged 80.
Canon MICHAEL J CASSIDY, a priest who helped rescue Irish migrant workers from exploitation in East Lothian, aged 84.
Entrepreneur and round-the-world yachtsman JEREMY SALVESEN, 51.
Former RAF signalman and owner of the International Newsagent ELLIOT JOHNSTONE, aged 91.
GEOFF CORNWALL, aged 41, vice-president of Dunbar Football Club.
Leading forestry expert, government adviser and novelist BILL MUTCH OBE, aged 88.
Anatomist, former Edinburgh University Dean and Royal Society fellow, GEORGE JOHN ROMANES OBE, aged 97.
Emeritus professor of pharmacology at Edinburgh University fellow of the Royal Society and keen singer, TONY HARMAR, aged 62.
JACK HENRY MOORE, Traverse Theatre director, filmmaker, events organiser and founder of the International Times, aged 73.
Eminent obstetrician and first full-time medical director of the Western General Hospital, JOHN SCRIMGEOUR, aged 65.
Former Falkirk, Motherwell and Huddersfield footballer ALEX BAIN, aged 78.
Ice cream entrepreneur RUDI ARCARI, left, aged 85.
JOSEPH GORDON SMITH, former army major who survived working on the infamous Burma-Siam railway, aged 93.
Shop owner and sailor BRIAN BALL, below, who died just six months after saving a 29-year-old drowning kayaker, aged 58.
Disability rights campaigner JIMMY McINTOSH MBE, aged 74.
DR WALTER YELLOWLEES, winner of the Military Cross for bravery in the Second World War and the man who led the campaign to stop fluoride being added to tap water, aged 97.
Promoter of Rosslyn Chapel, antiques expert and former president of the Theosophical Society of Edinburgh ROBERT BRYDON, aged 83.
Former Celtic, Middlesbrough and Dundee United goalkeeper ROLAND UGOLINI, aged 89.
Actor and founder of the 7:84 theatre company DAVID MACLENNAN, aged 65.
MARGARET JANE IRVINE, charity worker and amateur singer, aged 88.
Former artist in residence at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, IAN HUGHES, aged 55.
Former teacher and journalist who shaped the development of nursery and pre-school education GAIL McCAIL, above right, aged 80.
Professor of archaeology at Edinburgh University, MAGDALENA MIDGLEY, aged 61.
SALLY COLLINS, illustrator of the Hamish McHaggis children’s books, aged 62.
Commonwealth gold medal judoist PAT CUSACK, aged 75.
Ex-Hibs player, MORRIS STEVENSON, aged 71.
Former Evening News reporter and press officer, BILL RAE, aged 86.
Folk legend JEAN REDPATH, above, aged 77.
GEORGE MURDOCH, Arctic convoy hero, aged 80.
Internationally acclaimed diabetes expert, Dr JOYCE BAIRD, aged 85.
Wartime pilot, air traffic controller and community councillor, RON HOLTON, aged 91.
LINDE McGREGOR, a horsewoman and charity supporter who was jailed for denouncing Hitler when growing up in Germany, aged 93.
Hibs legend BOBBY KINLOCH, who famously scored a winning penalty against Barcelona, aged 79.
Former Edinburgh University secretary ALEX CURRIE, aged 88.
Community stalwart and campaigning pensioner JENNY WATSON, aged 89.
Teacher SANDY MUNRO, aged 83.
East Lothian politician, racehorse owner and top amateur golfer Major JOHN STEPHENSON, aged 85.
SIR ANDREW GORDON MANZIE, top civil servant, aged 84.
Nurse turned priest, Father THOMAS FLYNN, aged 73.
Former Edinburgh councillor GEORGE MONIES.
Veterinary expert RICHARD PHILIP, aged 72.
ROBIN BARBOUR, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly and Edinburgh University professor, aged 93.
RONNIE WILL, former army major, lawyer and governor of Merchiston Castle School, aged 96.
Criminologist Professor NIGEL WALKER, aged 97.
War hero SIR THOMAS MACPHERSON, one of the most decorated commandos of the Second World War, aged 94.
Former Heriot’s rugby player IAN THOMSON, aged 84.
Lt Gen SIR ROBERT RICHARDSON, former commander of the Royal Scots, aged 85.
Social work academic and champion of disadvantaged young people, RONA WOODWARD, aged 50.
Surgeon and fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons PRUDENCE BARRON MBE, aged 97.
Businessman and award-winning sailor MARSHALL NAPIER, aged 84.
Local historian and community activist ALEX WILSON.
Former councillor JOHN HENDERSON, aged 90.
Director of The Dome BRIAN CRAWFORD, aged 54.
Radio presenter DAVID STIRTON, aged 35.