Obituary: Donald Halcrow, well-known bank manager with a passion for amateur dramatics
It was part of the life of any teenage young man to have to carry out National Service many years ago. So, when former Trinity College pupil Donald Halcrow joined the Royal Air Force, his time spent there was to become one of his happiest memories and in later life, he proudly wore his RAF blazer, tie and wings on his lapel long, after he had retired from business life.
Donald Halcrow had an aptitude for mathematics, a talent which saw him graduate from bank clerk to bank manager. This indeed ensured his mention in the history of Livingston, which was one of Scotland’s successful new towns. He became Livingston’s first bank manager resident in an office in the shopping mall, at the time Livingston’s only shopping area.
Working as a bank manager at the Trustee Savings Bank in Edinburgh previously, Donald Halcrow presided behind an impressive desk and believed that a bank should be there to help and guide its customers. There are many people around today who will remember the debt of gratitude they owe to Donald Halcrow for helping them out when help was required.
That help was received with gratitude and never abused, as many a former, now successful customer, would still testify.
He took early retirement but in doing so became extremely busy working as a much respected director and organiser of Braid House in Livingston, where elderly people can meet and enjoy luncheons and entertainment to this day.
Not content with that, he became an honoured member of the Rotary Club where he was accorded the life membership award.
But there was another side to Donald Halcrow. He had a great love of the theatre. Indeed, when the Livingston Players began in Livingston, he was not only their financial director and treasurer, he also starred in several of their plays.
Known for his sartorial elegance, he always wore impeccably tailored suits and collar and ties when not in his favourite RAF blazer, so unsuspecting audiences were in hysterics when this former bank manager bounded on to the stage dressed as a monk from the dark ages, sporting the hairiest beard and wig and sackcloth tunic imaginable.
He also loved performing with the much acclaimed Bathgate Amdram company and, incredibly, one of his favourite parts was as one of the three little maids in The Mikado.
Indeed, in his beautiful eulogy, the Reverend John Povey reminded: “ He liked nothing better than to get into a dress” to the amused packed congregation of Donald Halcrow’s friends and former colleagues, who were perhaps not too surprised when the entrance music to the funeral service was Three Little Maids from The Mikado.
Life was good to Donald Morrison Halcrow. He met and fell in love with Betty and they were blessed with a son and daughter. Mrs Halcrow was a kind and gentle lady and a wonderful baker, not averse to sharing a treasured recipe with many a grateful friend whose carrot cake would turn out a triumph.
Donald Halcrow’s life was a triumph and one of well deserved success and like any highly respected bank manager he leaves not an overdraft, but a legacy of all the happiness and help he brought to others.
He is survived by son Duncan, daughter Yvonne and various grandchildren. Donald’s wife Betty predeceased him.