Born: July 14, 1930, in St Andrews.
Died: 18 September, 2004, in St Andrews, aged 74.
THE sporting world in Scotland has lost a great servant with the death on Saturday of Ian Swan.
A member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in his hometown of St Andrews since 1963, a 17-times capped Scotland wing and a pioneering businessman with a great mathematical mind, John Spence Swan was best known by friends and family for his honesty, zany sense of humour and terrific commitment to friendship.
After earning his "colours" at Madras College in cricket and athletics, and winning a Scottish mixed-doubles title at tennis, it was in rugby that Swan’s passion for sport shone through at the highest level. He had joined REME - the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - on leaving St Andrews University but never stopped competing and went on to be part of an almost fully international army side, which included the 40-times capped Scotland prop Hugh McLeod.
A winger bristling with determination in attack and a conviction not to let anyone pass, which spread a confidence through the team, Swan made his Scotland debut against England at Twickenham in 1953. He featured in the narrow 3-0 defeat to the All Blacks in 1954, played his part in bringing to an end the record of 17 successive defeats with victory over Wales in 1955 and signed off with a win over France at Murrayfield in 1958 - the year he also captained Leicester - before retiring from the game altogether.
He had also met Pauline Tyler by then, the daughter of the former Rosslyn Park captain and England squad member Jack Tyler, and they had married in 1956.
Business and family then took over Swan’s days and, known as a man with a wonderful joie de vivre, his family became everything to him. There was constant laughter in the Swan household, and rugby returned to the mix in 1970 when he took over as a director with Pringle in Hawick.
Living in Ancrum, he watched and served as vice-president with Hawick and Jed-Forest. He returned south to work in printing in 1976 but came back three years later to launch one of the first franchised businesses, Kall-Kwik, in Dundas Street, Edinburgh. By the time he retired, in 1994, he and Pauline had moved to Letham, back in his Fife homeland, and golf provided the outlet for his competitive spirit.
Even at his second home in the south-west of France where he and Pauline spent many months each year, Swan was a member of the golf club at Villeneuve-Sur-Lot, which is twinned with Troon.
It seemed strangely fitting, therefore, that Ian should pass away while playing golf on the New Course, which he felt was a fairer test of golf than the more famous Old Course. He had won the exquisite Queen Victoria Jubilee Vase in 1985 and though his handicap had crept back up from six in recent times, he believed the drive on Saturday before he collapsed and died was his best for some time.
Ian Swan will long be remembered as a great family man, fantastic company and a hugely generous host. His three children, Andrew, Susan and Nina, and their spouses and six grandchildren, remember the mischievous times, but all who met him will have many happy memories to share.