Obituary: Ron Cooper, 77

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A highly-regarded former senior official at the city council has died at the age of 77.

Ron Cooper was director of building control at the local authority and was well respected amongst his colleagues, elected councillors and members of the public alike.

He was born in Aberdeen on November 12, 1936, and died in the Capital on January 13.

Ron served with the Royal Engineers in Cyprus under the famous explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell.

As his career with the city council developed, he became known by his first name to lord provosts, bailies and councillors.

His style crossed political borders, his forthright approach and fearless manner earning him a reputation as a man who got things done.

He fought manfully for what he believed in when it came to matters of public safety and few challenged his recommendations, such was the extent of his professional knowledge.

Friends told how he once refused to open a Festival venue on the opening night of a sell-out concert because he had concerns about the state of the emergency lighting system.

Visits were made, inspections were carried out and the pressure was on – but Ron refused to wilt.

Distinguished guests, all in evening dress, were left disappointed, but Ron and his department insisted they were left with no choice but to cancel the curtain-raiser.

And neither was he afraid to get his hands dirty.

The story goes that he once demanded an emergency road closure of Princes Street after stonework began falling from the Scott Monument.

However, not satisfied with just taking safety precautions, Ron then clambered on board a cherry picker to examine the famous tower for himself.

When part of it came away in his hands, he knew he had made the right decision to close off the city’s main thoroughfare.

Another notable achievement on his CV was carrying out a major safety review at city football grounds such as Tynecastle and Easter Road, before enforcing changes.

Away from work, Ron – who married Diane in 1982 – was a fanatical golfer and earned medals from several clubs.

He was a member of Edinburgh Corporation Golf Club, Edinburgh City Chambers Golf Club, Lothianburn – and became club champion at them all.

Ron also rubbed shoulders with a few famous faces as he swung his way around golf courses, playing in pro-ams alongside Gary Player, Mark McNulty, Peter Aliss and Seve Ballesteros.

He also postponed his honeymoon with Diane so that he could play in the final of the legendary Edinburgh golf tournament – the Evening News Dispatch Trophy.