Obituary: Gerard Forrestal Griffith Welsh LLB, solicitor

Born: 27 January, 1941, in Uddingston. Died: 27 February, 2015, in Edinburgh, aged 74
Gerry Welsh LLB: Meticulous, sociable and sporty lawyer who was solicitor to Lothian Regional CouncilGerry Welsh LLB: Meticulous, sociable and sporty lawyer who was solicitor to Lothian Regional Council
Gerry Welsh LLB: Meticulous, sociable and sporty lawyer who was solicitor to Lothian Regional Council

Gerry Welsh, who was the solicitor to Lothian Regional Council, has died in hospital after various health issues.

Gerry was a leading figure in public service legal circles. He was educated at Our Lady’s High School in Motherwell and graduated in Law from Glasgow University.

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His first appointment in public service was with the legal department of the Gas Board in Edinburgh, from where he moved to Midlothian County Council.

He transferred to Lothian Regional Council on its creation, where he served as solicitor to the council until its dissolution in 1996.

First and foremost he was a meticulous lawyer. But he was also a dedicated public servant who was able to place his legal advice in context and offer it with wisdom and subtlety, often in very public and controversial situations.

He worked with different political administrations with equal integrity and earned the respect of councillors and officer colleagues alike, no doubt partly due to the quiet, dry wit which he employed sparingly but to great effect.

He also contributed to legal education, lecturing at the University of Edinburgh and publishing an authoritative book on the law of compulsory purchase, as well as contributing to the Stair Encyclopedia of Scots Law.

Many trainees in his department over the years benefited from his advice and encouragement and went on to occupy senior positions in Scottish local authorities.

Gerry also engaged with professional colleagues throughout Scotland, holding various offices in the Society of Directors of Administration, including chairman.

Gerry played rugby, cricket, golf and bowls with varying levels of skill but always with commitment, as opponents often found to their cost.

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Cricket was his first love and he played for Uddingston in the Western Union. After moving to Edinburgh in 1964 he joined Brunswick in the East League, and also played in several mid-week teams.

He played rugby with Uddingston, The Borderers and Corstorphine RFC. He became a key figure at Corstorphine RFC, being heavily involved in coaching mini rugby and the Colts when his son took up the game. He served as club secretary for ten years and then as club president.

Passionate about literature, Gerry was prone to impromptu recitations of verse of all kinds, ranging from Shakespearean sonnets to The Face on the Barroom Floor.

In 1966 he married Elizabeth Anne Wilde, who became his lifelong soulmate. Liz fully supported Gerry in all his endeavours and together they shared pleasure and pride in the achievements of their son Chris and daughter Caroline.

Above all, Gerry was a sociable man who relished the company of his family and wide circle of friends. He and Liz were enthusiastic and welcoming hosts both in Corstorphine and their beloved Trecelin in Brittany, where many enjoyed their generous hospitality.

Gerry is survived by his wife Liz, daughter Caroline and son Chris and grandchildren Cameron and Lucy.