Obituary: Ronald Sinclair, 74

Ronnie Sinclair
Ronnie Sinclair
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ONE of the leading figures in Edinburgh’s financial community and keen sportsman, Ronald Sinclair, has died, aged 74

Born in the Capital on September 21, 1938, Ronald “Ronnie” Sinclair went on to spend 30 years as a partner in the long-established chartered accountancy firm Chiene and Tait.

He attended Greenock Academy and then Edinburgh Academy, where he was captain of the athletics team and represented the school at hockey and squash. He was Scottish junior squash champion.

Ronnie was educated at Cambridge University, where he studied economics in between representing the institution in squash, athletics and rowing – earning him the nickname “Running Shoes Sinclair”.

A friend from his school days recalls: “I competed against Ronnie on the running track and always lost. He was an amiable and good-natured person. He wore his many talents lightly.”

Once qualified, he returned to north to train as an accountant with Chiene and Tait, which also involved enrolling at Edinburgh University.

Sport kept him busy when he wasn’t at his desk, before he became a partner with the financial firm in 1966.

Known as a meticulous accountant, he made use of his financial expertise away from his day job, acting as treasurer at Muirfield Golf Club and of the European Squash Rackets Federation.

He also served on the court of directors at Edinburgh Academy, was accountant to transport firm Handicabs, worked on behalf of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending and was treasurer to the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

His financial brain was equalled by his sporting prowess. He represented Scotland at squash between 1967 and 1973 and served as president of the Scottish Squash Association from 1974-76 before leading the International Squash Federation from 1985-89.

In 1991, he received the Scottish Sports Council award for services to Scottish sport.

David Sandford, a former secretary of Bruntsfield Golf Club, where Ronnie was captain, recalls: “Ronnie tried to ensure that more funds were spent on the course, in his mind the main asset, than on the clubhouse.

“I remember once when he climbed Ben Nevis on a Saturday to be with his brother, Martin, when Martin bagged his final Munro, partied in Inverness that night and played in the match Southerness v Bruntsfield at Southerness on the Sunday, leading the Bruntsfield team to victory.”

Ronnie contacted Legionnaire’s disease while on a cycling holiday in Spain, and died in Edinburgh on December 3.

He married Careen Gillies in 1967. She and their son and daughter survive him, along with five grandchildren.