Dad loved all sorts of public speaking, but his favourite was Tam O’Shanter. It’s an extremely long poem, with several different character voices, but he knew it off by heart and could recite it all, from memory. He’d do actions and involve the audience. He was always in great demand at Burn’s Nights. But he also loved speaking at weddings, events, local rotary groups. Anywhere that would invite him, he would go.
When he retired at 60, he learnt to play the bagpipes. He had the time, he had the dedication. It was hard work, it’s a difficult instrument to learn at any age, but he became really good, encouraged by friends. He’d play at weddings, or at New Year. He was a showman.
Dad was a Manager at Perth and Kinross Council, in charge of emergency planning. He was known there, I believe, for speaking his mind. There was no disguising his past as a Captain in the Merchant Navy. And he could only have been a captain, he liked to be in charge. As a Dad he was a hard taskmaster;, he believed in us and wanted us to follow our dreams – but he expected us to be the best we could be, not to settle for less.
Dad got Myeloma when he was 61 and battled it for eight years. He was part of the shielded group during the Coronavirus outbreak, but unfortunately during a hospital stay in early April contracted Covid 19 and after months of hospital admission we lost him in June. We were only allowed 20 people at his funeral, but we managed to have a piper, playing just for him.
As told by Alasdair Maddox