A natural ability at rugby capped Graham Ross's career

Tributes have been paid to a Scotland rugby internationalist, businessman and Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, who has died aged 80.

Graham Ross, OBE, was born in Edinburgh on July 5, 1928.

He was educated at George Watson's College and was a past captain, stalwart and great supporter of the school and of Watsonians Football Club.

Mr Ross was a stand-off and had a natural rugby ability. He won four caps, all in 1954, making his international debut against the All Blacks in the famous clash at Murrayfield on February 13, 1954, which ended in a 3-0 defeat for Scotland.

News of his death has devastated the rugby community.

Mr Ross – who is survived by his wife, Margot, their son, Kenneth, and daughter, Jenny – also played for Wasps, Co-optimists and Edinburgh. He retired early after suffering a badly fractured cheekbone.

Away from the rugby field Mr Ross was a successful businessman.

In 1955 he became the third generation of the Ross family to join Macvitties Guest and Company, based in Princes Street, where he took on the position of catering director.

This followed his training at the Scottish Hotel School in Ross Hall, Glasgow, and practical experience at London's Savoy Hotel and in Switzerland.

The company was taken over by Rank Hovis MacDougall in 1963, at which point Mr Ross took over responsibility for its whole Scottish restaurant and catering business, before branching out by setting up a new company, Ross Restaurants.

This was in partnership with AA Laing Ltd, and he built up a chain of 40 self-service restaurants throughout Scotland.

After the business was sold to United Biscuits in 1975, Mr Ross became managing director of the Crawford Catering Company, with around 200 restaurants in the UK. The company had the royal warrant to provide catering services to the Queen.

In 1981, Mr Ross was seconded by United Biscuits as executive director to establish Scottish Business in the Community (ScotBIC). This company was the first in Scotland to promote the philosophy of corporate social responsibility, and Mr Ross had to convince many sceptics as to the merits of the business in the community concept.

Mr Ross went on to set up 47 local enterprise trusts around the country to create jobs and partnership between the private and public sectors.

He was awarded the OBE on retirement in 1990, having previously been appointed a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

Mr Ross continued his involvement in national issues through chairmanship of the Edinburgh Old Town Charitable and Renewal Trusts, and provided business advice through various chairman, non-executive and trustee positions, including with Leith School of Art and Napier College.

He also created many opportunities to conduct youth work, particularly within the Oxgangs housing area.

For more than five decades, he worked for Gideons International, distributing Bibles and testaments in schools, hospitals and homes for the elderly in the Capital.

He passed away on February 13.