Obituary: Frank Hogarth, bank manager and rugby player

Frank Hogarth, bank manager and rugby player. Born: 9 September, 1925, in Galashiels. Died: 2 August, 2010, in Glasgow, aged 84.

HE WAS was a traditional banker who gave valued service to many customers of the Royal Bank of Scotland over 40 years.

Away from his professional career Frank Hogarth was a keen rugby player in his youth and involved in the game's administration thereafter.

He was principally associated with Galashiels RFC and, when he moved to Glasgow, with Kelvinside West - then a club with no home ground.

But in 1952, Hogarth was a member of a syndicate that acquired land at Burnbrae, Milngavie which became the club's headquarters in 1960. He is remembered in both the Royal Bank and in west of Scotland rugby as a lively, energetic and dedicated man who was always on hand to help others.

His contribution to rugby both in the west of Scotland and the Borders was summed up when the former Scottish internationalist and British Lion John Beattie recently wrote: "He was a great man of rugby. Frank helped the West of Scotland rugby club with such vigour that it was humbling."

Frank Hogarth attended Galashiels Academy until the age of 14 when he was apprenticed to the Commercial Bank of Scotland as a trainee clerk. On his first day he arrived in short trousers. In 1945 Hogarth was called up into the Scots Guards and served most of his national service at Windsor Barracks.

After a brief spell back in the Commercial Bank at Galashiels he was transferred to Glasgow in 1950.

By 1973 Hogarth was manager of the prestigious Sauchiehall Street branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland. In the intervening years there had been several mergers and takeovers in the Scottish banking industry - hence the change of name.

For his final 12 years with the bank Hogarth was manager of one of its most high-profile London branches - known as the Charing Cross West branch - close to the Strand and that other important banking head office, Coutts & Co, the Queen's bank.

Hogarth proved a most popular and revered manager in London. He was patient and understanding yet had a firm grip on financial matters and always provided sound and balanced advice to both large commercial organisations and the bank's many private customers.

He had a knack of politely suggesting that the overdraft be reduced without causing insult.

At his farewell lunch in 1985 the smart gathering roared with laughter when Hogarth entered to greet his guests in formal business jacket and waistcoat, shirt and tie but wearing short trousers. To much cheering he explained: "I joined in my shorts and I'm leaving in my shorts."

But rugby was his passion. He started playing at school - then as a scrum-half - and graduated to the Gala juniors during the war.It was in the 1948/49 season that he began playing in the front row of the scrum and propped with distinction for Gala that season. In all he played in 40 games for Gala.

One of his team-mates from those days, Frank Entwhistle, recalls their playing days: "Frank was an extremely hard-working tight head prop and was a popular member of the Gala team.

"He was one of three brothers who all gave grand service to the club over the years. Frank was a good friend, very keen on his rugby, and a courteous and kind man with no side."

On moving to Glasgow Hogarth played for 12 successive seasons in the Kelvinside 1st XV, captaining it in 1954/56, representing the West in the District Championships and getting a full international trial.

He was to remain a playing member of Kelvinside until 1965 but thereafter remained an extremely active member serving on various committees at all levels.

But it was his enthusiastic sense of business acumen that encouraged the club to broaden its financial base from gaining additional income.

He was keen that the club should expand its facilities to include a golf driving range and a caravan park and thus add some much needed revenue.

In 1976 Hogarth was appointed the club's president and in 2002 he was made the second honorary president in the club's 138-year history.

A club spokesman has commented: "For over 50 years Frank has been part of the fabric and history of the club at Burnbrae. He later went on to become president of the club and latterly honorary president.

"His contribution to the life of the club over that long period was immense."

Frank Hogarth married Frankie in 1956. She and their two sons survive him.