Obituary: Lt Col Howard ‘Pat’ Paterson

Lt. Col. Howard Paterson. Picture: Contributed
Lt. Col. Howard Paterson. Picture: Contributed
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TD, FSA Scot, army service and tourism officer. 
Born: 16 March, 1920, in Edinburgh. Died: 7 July, 2014 in West Linton, aged 94.

Howard Paterson was devoted to Scotland: its people, history, countryside and wildlife. He served with the Scottish Tourist Board (STB) and introduced several new marketing projects which proved to be imaginative and ahead of their time.

Willy Macleod worked with Paterson at STB and recalled him with much affection. “Pat was a respected figure throughout STB and very knowledgeable about tourism and had the vision to create the international gathering of the clans. There was a reunion of former STB colleagues last month and Pat was in sparkling form: spot-on with his stories and his memory.”

Howard Cecil Paterson (invariably “Pat”) attended Daniel Stewarts College in the capital and then enrolled at Edinburgh College of Art. His mother was an Orcadian and he preserved a keen love of the island all his life.

Paterson joined the Royal Artillery in the first year of the Second World War and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery but, when serving in Yorkshire, he came off a motorbike and was severely injured. He was sent to recover at Harewood House, where he met Isabelle, who would become his wife. They were married in the chapel at Harewood.

He remained in the army until 1949, working until 1949 as a personnel selection officer.

He retained his connection with army through his enthusiastic membership of the TA until 1970, serving on the Lowland Reserve Forces and as a member of the City of Edinburgh Artillery Officers’ Association. His first job
was as personnel officer at Jute Industries in Dundee and then as secretary (1951–66) to the Scottish Industries Development Trust, which provided information about careers in the countryside.

In 1966 he was appointed a senior director of the STB where he was involved in imaginative schemes to broaden tourism in Scotland and make it more attractive.

He became the energetic chairman in 1984 of Taste Scotland, which popularised national dishes and produce. He remained with the STB until 1981 and during that time he visited Canada and the United States extensively, beginning a scheme to encourage Scots abroad to visit their native land.

One of Paterson’s lifelong passions was to make trekking and horse riding available throughout the Scottish countryside.

He visited Iceland in the 1950s to inspect the excellent arrangements they had created for pony trekking and was determined to introduce the hobby to Scotland. Along with The Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland, Paterson inaugurated a most successful operation that has grown considerably.

Susan Howard of the Society remembered the pioneering contribution that Paterson made to the project.

“Pat gave 50 years of support and encouragement to Equestrian Tourism in Scotland and without him and his fellow pioneers in the early days of pony trekking, the industry would not have developed as well as it has.

“Pat steered the society for several years as chairman and was still active behind the scenes. He had a very colourful life and will be remembered fondly by all the members who knew him.”

The association was originally situated around Aberfoyle and was helped by the loan of ponies from the Duke of Atholl, who kept ponies for stalking.

After serving as chairman Paterson was appointed honorary president.

One of his special joys was in 1962 when Paterson organised Trekking Comes to Town.

It was the first ever pony show in the Waverley 
Market in Edinburgh and 
the highlight of the day was the parade along Princess Street with the Duke of Atholl taking the salute on the steps of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Paterson was a passionate supporter of the Borders and gave enormous encouragement to many local events.

“Not least,” Lady Angela Buchan-Hepburn recalled, “When I was holding my first Fair in the grounds here at Kailzie, Pat offered to help and he was invaluable. Pat was a great organiser. He loved local produce – especially Border lamb.”

His son Colin told The Scotsman that his father had “an abiding love of nature and Scotland. He was passionate in his work when promoting Scotland. He was also a fine artist and illustrator and had contributed drawings to The Scotsman and The Scots Magazine over the years.

“He fished until his middle years and kept up his gun licence but hadn’t been out on the moors for many years.” Paterson was active to within weeks of his passing. He drove his car about West Linton and was presented with an electric scooter.

On taking delivery he said: “It sailed through everything the garden could throw at it and did so with a degree of stability that I found impressive.”

Colin admitted: “Dad had an accident in that. He was a touch accident prone.”

Paterson’s wife Isabelle predeceased him and he is survived by their son, grand-children and great-grand-children.