Tearful farewell

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I suspect I was not alone among the Scottish literary ­community in shedding a tear when I read David Robinson’s obituary of Gavin Wallace, a very special person indeed (Obituaries, 6 February). As literature director of the Scottish Arts Council, and its successor, he was always approachable, always 
direct and always supportive.

I don’t recall that I ever met Gavin at what could formally be described as a “social occasion”. Yet there is a sense that every encounter with him, whether in his office or elsewhere, was a warmly sociable experience.

His efficiency was never in question, and neither was his wisdom, but the human warmth with which he delivered advice and information ensured that the recipient went away in a positive frame of mind.

While he was a frequent, good-humoured and confident chair at literary events, I particularly remember seeing Gavin on many occasions as an ordinary member of the audience, at 
discussions and readings.

Nor was there ever a sense that he was there out of duty. The interest was engaged and genuine. And now we shall have to live with the absence.

And if we are going to miss him, how much more will his family, to whom all sympathy must go.

It can be little comfort to them that one can say: “It was a great privilege to have known him, a deep sadness to have lost him. Let us find a way to ensure his memory is kept alive.”

Aonghas Macneacail