Obituary: James McPherson CBE FSA (Scot), solicitor and Lord Lieutenant
Born: 20 November, 1927, in Wormit, Fife. Died: 12 August, 2012, in Macduff, Banffshire, aged 84.
Jim McPherson was well-known throughout the north-east of Scotland, particularly through his service for 15 years as the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire (having previously been deputy lieutenant for seventeen years). With his distinguished manner and strong physique, he cut a fine figure as Her Majesty’s representative, until his retirement from the post (he used to say that it was not fitting that elderly gentlemen should go about with swords). He wore his distinction lightly, but had a grand sense of occasion and carried out his duties in a dignified manner.
After education at Banff Academy and Aberdeen University, he took up a career in law, as a partner in the firm of Alexander George & Co (Macduff, Banff & Buckie). In 1972, he was appointed an Honorary Sheriff of Grampian Highland and Islands, and he was also a president of the Society of Solicitors for Banffshire and member of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal.
After national service (1952-54), he served for a number of years in the Territorial Army.
Aside from his professional life, Jimmy gave much to the community through service on many public bodies and support of much voluntary work, especially for young people.
For 32 years he was involved in local authority service including the period from 1958 to 1975 on the then Macduff Town Council. He was in fact the last Provost of the Burgh of Macduff.
He was also a member of Banff County Council, sitting on all manner of sub-committees, and he represented Grampian on the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. Among his other public involvements were periods of service on the Police Advisory Board for Scotland and terms of office as a Governor of both the Scottish Police College and the Scottish Eastern Area Fire Board.
He was a member of Grampian Health Board and served on committees such as the Millar Committee on Moral and Religious Education in Scottish Schools. From 1993 to 1997, he was a member of Aberdeen University Court and, besides being a regular worshipper in Macduff Church, he served as an elder and Presbytery member. He was a scout leader and district commissioner and also for a time honorary president of the Banffshire Battalion of the Boys’ Brigade.
He was honorary president of Deveron Swimming Club, having been himself an accomplished swimmer in his youth; he gained a swimming blue at university and was a member of the Scottish Universities Swimming Team.
In his leisure time, he also enjoyed sailing, reading and researching local history, in which he was a mine of information.
I remember him speaking during a long car journey (to yet another committee meeting) about his memory of his own father drumming it into him that everyone, whatever his or her abilities, has a duty to put something back into the community from which he or she has benefited. He also spoke of his own graduation when the then principal of Aberdeen University, Sir Thomas Taylor, said that graduates were equipped to earn a living but that it was their service of others that was the mark of real character.
Jimmy rose to these challenges with energy and enthusiasm, lived a life of commitment to public service and sought to live out the Christian faith that was so important to him.
He will be greatly missed by his wife, Helen, his son and daughter, Ewan and Lesley, by all of his family, and by the very extensive community of those who knew and respected him.
DAVID J RANDALL
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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