Picturing himself in retirement

• Renowned Edinburgh photographer George McLeod retires

AFTER putting in 50 years of sterling service at Churchill Photography, formerly Wilson Groat Photography, George McLeod has decided to retire.

Although George's parents hailed from Aberdeen, they had already upped sticks for Edinburgh by the time George was born in Pilton on July 11, 1942.

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A young George attended Wardie Primary and Ainsley Park schools and it was at the latter that he developed a keen interest in photography.

He was already practising it as a hobby at home with his father and, when his science teacher at Ainsley Park started holding after-school photography workshops, George discovered a talent which would sustain him for his entire career.

George left school at 15 to take up a post at Wilson Groat Photography in Churchill Place, Morningside, and he still has the letter his father received outlining the contract and conditions of the apprenticeship.

Wilson Groat was contracted to take photographs for the Army and, as part of this agreement, he had the privilege of taking photographs of the Royal Family during military engagements in Edinburgh.

He was also on the last ferry from South to North Queensferry with the Queen in 1964 after the Forth Road Bridge was opened to traffic.

George's work also included progress photographs during the building of the Forth Road Bridge - a task that required him to climb the towers.

Wilson Groat ran a reliable 24-hour service and, as such, the Evening News and The Scotsman often relied upon George when their own photographers were busy.

As well as covering social engagements and family gatherings, George has also captured personalities and celebrities such as Sean Connery, Jools Holland and the Bay City Rollers during their visits to Edinburgh over the years.

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George's approachable and light-hearted nature belies a hard-working and highly professional modus operandi. In all his years of work, he has only ever registered one absence and even then he had to be persuaded by his family not to go back in on the same day after an operation.

George is married to Hazel, whom he met in Edinburgh and then wed at the Congregational Church on the 20 October, 1967.

They have two children, Jennifer and Christopher, who are both in their 30s. Hazel has also recently retired. Jennifer works in human resources for the Scottish Government, while Christopher is head greenkeeper at a golf course in Fife.

George also became a grandfather this year and he is looking forward to spending some of his retirement taking lots of photographs of baby Malaika.

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