Obituary: Vincent Hastie, teacher and journalist

Born: 18 September, 1944, in Glasgow. Died: 1 August, 2013, in Glasgow, aged 68

Vincent Hastie

Vincent Hastie was a Fleet Street journalist turned religious education teacher whose professional and social life varied to the extent that he appeared on Taggart and other TV shows.

Hastie, who has died aged 68, treated every day as a gift to be cherished, underpinned by a wry sense of humour and unshakable Christian faith.

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He was signed to Spurs as a teenager, but injury cut short this career and led to the life of a hot metal newspaperman and spell as editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer.

He also served as a Territorial Army soldier, trod the boards in amateur dramatics and, after becoming a teacher, worked for a theatrical company, appearing in iconic Glasgow productions including Taggart, River City and Dear Green Place.

The eldest of six brothers, Vincent Thomas Anthony Hastie was born in Clarkston, Glasgow, in 1944. He was a devout Roman Catholic from childhood, following his uncle, Father Vincent Cowley, around various churches and acting as altar boy.

Hastie was schooled at St Joseph’s primary school in Clarkston, then Holyrood senior secondary before going up to Blairs College, near Aberdeen.

He returned to Glasgow after deciding the priesthood was not for him, and finished his schooling at St Aloysius.

Spurs signed him as a 17-year-old but an irreversible knee injury led him to journalism, which, with his love for English and the arts, he considered his natural vocation.

He trained on a local paper in England before joining the Daily Record in Hope Street, Glasgow, in 1965, where he re-wrote the stars column and edited the letters page.

He later joined the Luton Post as features sub-editor and also produced company newspapers for mining and heavy engineering companies in Lincoln and Cornwall. He moved to Fleet Street and the Daily Express in 1968, where he was night editor and learned the web offset printing, the emerging new technology of the day.

Armed with this new skill, he returned north to be assistant chief sub editor of the Scottish Daily Express in Glasgow’s Albion Street. By 1974 he was editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer, all the while studying and later graduating BA with honours from the Open University.

Hastie moved on to the Johnstone Gazette as editor before enrolling at Glasgow University, where he took a Divinity degree followed by a post-graduate teaching diploma.

The second phase in his professional life began in the late 1980s with posts at Stonelaw High in Rutherglen, Auchinleck Academy, Carrick Academy in Maybole and finally Woodfarm High, Glasgow, from which he took early retirement as principal teacher of RE.

Making good use of his boyhood acting talents, Hastie signed up to an agency that resulted in appearances on several TV shows.

He enjoyed the social side of the film set as much as working as an extra, and was quietly amused to hear a friend, having watched the gritty TV detective show starring Mark McManus, exclaim: “I’ve just seen Vincent walking into a chemist’s shop.”

Not long after he left teaching, his wife Anne, with whom he had eight children, fell ill and he became her full-time carer until her death. He remained positive and took up new interests including joining the church choir at St Joseph’s, where he was one of only two basses.

He met his future partner Wendy at the church and so began a new phase in his life, with the couple getting engaged in 2008.

That year, he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and underwent two rounds of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

He was uncomplaining throughout and instead lived life to the full, enjoying holidays in Rome, Seville, Naples and as late as May this year, Paris.

Hastie was a deeply spiritual man who put others’ needs before his own and placed all his faith and trust in his God, thanking him for every day he was spared, for helping him with his pain and for the family and friends with whom he shared his life.

Jim Filbin, a journalist colleague who met Hastie more than 40 years ago, described his friend as an “exceptional kind of guy, both professionally and as a human being”.

He added: “Vincent was a man of integrity who always stood up for his beliefs and went through life with a unique, zany sense of humour.”

Hastie was predeceased by his wife Anne in 2003 and is survived by Wendy; his children Eileen, John Paul, Mary Jo, Vincent, Peter, Thomas, Aaron and Philip; and granddaughters Amelia, Tess and Jessica.