Obituaries: Alexander Weatherhead OBE, sportsman, soldier, sailor and solicitor

Alexander Stewart Weatherhead OBE, TD, sportsman, soldier, sailor, solicitor. Born: 3 August 1931. Died: 26 September 2021, aged 90

Alexander Weatherhead was shaped by his military experience
Alexander Weatherhead was shaped by his military experience

Sandy Weatherhead was a man of character who lived his life well. He was born in Edinburgh, the elder son of Kenneth Kilpatrick Weatherhead and Katharine Stewart Weatherhead, who had met as students at Edinburgh University. “KK” served in the Great War and then became an actuary, head of the Scottish Mutual. Katharine was a leading figure in Scottish and international women’s hockey.

Sandy loved rugby, whether as a player, referee or spectator. He played 1st XV for Glasgow Accies, was awarded a Blue at Glasgow University and played for Glasgow against Edinburgh in the regular derby fixture. Six Nations matches were a priority in his calendar even at the end of his life. With hockey-playing daughters, he was their greatest supporter, often accompanied by his expert mother, with her signature shooting stick and tartan blanket.

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Sandy was sent to Aden for National Service where, as 2/Lieut. R.A., the young men of the company with whom he served taught him what a privileged life he led – a lesson he never forgot.

Sandy then joined the Territorial Army and rose to the rank of Colonel. He commanded units in Port Glasgow and the OTC at Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities before being appointed TAVR Colonel Lowlands and ADC to the Queen.

His military experience shaped him in many ways: Sandy never went anywhere without polished shoes and every event in life was planned with military precision. Most importantly, it was the source of his greatest friendships – there was a merry band who would gather around the dinner table, often with Sandy cooking, and tell stories, roar with laughter and appreciate each other’s good company.

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The sea was a passion, springing from family summers spent on Iona. He had a deep knowledge of the West Coast, where he regularly cruised with friends and family, taking both children to sea just weeks after their birth. When Sandy stepped on his boat, he was in his element. He left port with the wind in his hair and a broad smile on his face.

Sandy was a solicitor. He attended Glasgow University, graduating with an MA in 1955 and LL.B in 1958. He trained at McGrigor Donald before moving to Tindal Oatts & Rodger, ultimately becoming senior partner.

Sandy’s contribution to the law went far beyond his own firm. He was an active member of the Law Society of Scotland from 1958, joining the Council in 1971 and becoming Honorary Vice-President in 1983. He served on the Royal Commission on Legal Services in Scotland (1976-1980), was a Temporary Sheriff (1985-1992), and was appointed Dean of the Royal Faculty of Procurators, Glasgow, in 1992. In 1973, with remarkable foresight, he helped found the Society for Computers & Law, serving as Chair from 1982-84. In 1985 Sandy took immense pride in the award of OBE for Services to the Legal Profession.

Beyond all these achievements, Sandy was a family man. He was a confirmed bachelor until he was 41 but on 26 August 1972 he met a visiting Canadian, Foye Organ, at his godson’s christening in Fintry. Just 12 hours later, Sandy proposed, and after a night’s reflection, Foye accepted – a crazy decision that neither of them ever regretted.

They married four months later in Toronto and returned to Glasgow to set up home in the lower flat of his family home on Partickhill Road. Two daughters were born, Foye Katharine, in 1974 and Alison Jane, in 1975. Sandy’s life was now fully rounded out.

Sandy celebrated his 90th birthday last summer, surrounded by his family and the wonderful carers at Erskine Glasgow, his home for the last two years of his life. He supped on champagne and ate chocolate cake. Though much of his memory had been lost to dementia, he was still the warm, calm, caring gentleman he had always been.

On 26 September, the anniversary of his father’s death in 1979, Sandy died. What a significant, remarkable coincidence – he was well organised to the end!

Sandy’s funeral was held at Wellington Church attended by a large gathering of his friends and family. The Church had always played an important part in his life – his two grandfathers were Moderators – and his Christian faith underlined his life and guided all his actions. It was a wonderful farewell for Sandy, who has set sail once again with a smile on his face and the wind in his hair.


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