Obituary: David Houldsworth,  lawyer, member of the Royal Company of Archers and natural countryman

David Houldsworth, lawyer. Born: 19 February, 1953. Died: 2 February, 2021, aged 67

David Houldsworth

David Henry Houldsworthwas a well-respected lawyer who combined a successful career as a solicitor in Edinburgh with the custody and management of his family estate in Morayshire and gave his time freely to conservation and community causes.

Born 19 February 1953, David was the son of Ian and Clodagh and eldest of their five children. A happy early childhood living at Finlarig, near Forres, was brought abruptly to an end by the tragic death of his father from a wound he had suffered during the Second World War. Just three months later his Houldsworth grandfather also died, leaving him, aged just ten, heir to the Dallas estate and with a charming and touching sense of responsibility which he never lost.

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The family moved into Dallas Lodge, a beautiful house dating back to the late 17th Century with an idyllic garden, which Clodagh made into a much loved home for her children and a place which holds many, many happy memories for them and all their friends.

David enjoyed the outdoors, was a natural countryman and developed a keen interest in the estate, its moorland, hill farms, woodland and wildlife. Under the eye of the legendary head keeper, Angus Mackinnon, he became a skilled shot and he also learned to cast a good line on the Spey at neighbouring Knockando. But it was the Dallas garden, with its attractive loch and large variety of trees and shrubs, which gave him the greatest pleasure. He developed a considerable knowledge of trees, introducing many new species which he planted himself. Latterly, he derived great satisfaction from rebuilding the dry stone walls.

David studied Scots Law at Edinburgh University and then joined the Edinburgh law firm Brodies, where, in 1979, he qualified as a W.S. (Writer to the Signet). He became the partner in charge of the Estates and Agricultural section of their Private Client Department.

David always felt a very keen sense of responsibility towards the local community. Over time, this expanded to encompass several other Scottish estates of which he was asked to be trustee. His interest in wildlife and conservation led to appointments as director of The Cairngorm Mountain Trust and trustee of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund, the Findhorn & Lossie Rivers Trust and the recently reclaimed Japanese Gardens at Cowden. He guided each of these with his customary light touch and easy sense of humour.

David’s interest in younger people resulted in an invitation to join The Prince Philip Gordonstoun Foundation which raises and manages funds to be applied as bursaries, enabling the school to attract pupils with a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. He was chairman of The Gordonstoun Foundation from 2010 to 2020, chairman of the New Club in Edinburgh between 2012 and 2014 and from 1983 served as a member of The Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland, Royal Company of Archers.

David was married twice His first marriage to Jane Hogg ended in divorce and he later married Poppy Scholes. Poppy, with whom he shared many interests including fishing, adventurous travels and collecting contemporary Scottish art, together with their daughter Romilly, survive him.


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