Obituary: Nigel Thomson, former Sheriff

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A FORMER sheriff, who was as well known for his wit and penchant for entertaining as he was his legal mind, has passed away.

Sheriff Nigel Thomson, who was born, schooled and worked in the city, was a popular figure and regularly eased the monotony of the courtroom by attaching amusing conditions to sentences.

Born in 1926, both his parents died while he was relatively young, meaning he and his brothers were raised by their grandfather.

He attended George Watson’s College in the Capital before winning a scholarship to St Andrews University.

That was interrupted by service towards the end of the Second World War, which he regarded as “a gap year”.

Upon his return, he opted not to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a minister, and instead focused on law.

After serving at Hamilton Sheriff Court for some years he was able to return to Edinburgh, where he was a sheriff from 1976 until 1996.

But his ability to sing, write poetry, play the piano and make funny speeches saw his talents far more widely appreciated.

He is survived by wife Lolo, two children and four grandchildren.

• GEORGE Taylor, a man honoured with an OBE from the Queen for his work in the Scottish Prison Service, has died at the age of 72.

The retired prison governor and former merchant seaman was born in Edinburgh in 1939, and passed away at his home in Dumfries on January 6.

He spent 37 years with the Scottish Prison Service before being appointed governor of Dumfries Prison and Young Offenders’ Institution in 1989.

As a boy, he attended Roseburn Primary School and then Tynecastle High, but it was at Roseburn where he first spotted a young girl called June Campbell.

He previously recalled seeing her through the fence in the days when playgrounds were segregated by gender, and saying even then it was the girl he would marry.

After leaving Tynecastle, he trained as a shipwright at the Royal Dockyard in Rosyth before later joining the famous Clan Line, which took him to Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East.

However, his desire to travel the seas faded the more he thought of his childhood sweetheart, June, in Edinburgh, so he returned and married her in 1964.

In 2000, after nearly four decades of work, Mr Taylor was made an OBE in the Queen’s honours list for his 37 years of dedication to the prison service.

His daughter Susan said: “He thoroughly enjoyed night classes in Italian cookery, possibly enhanced by being able to enjoy the part of the bottle of red wine not used in the cooking. He also enjoyed the odd whisky or two.

“His great passion, of course, was the sea and shipping.”