Scotsman Obituaries: Scott Murray, musician, wrestler and water skier

Lawrence Scott Murray, musician, wrestler and water skier. Born: 2 June 1945 in Edinburgh. Died: 7 May 2021 in Kirkliston aged 75

Scott Murray on stage

Lawrence Scott Murray, known by everyone as Scott, was born in 1945 at the family home in Balgreen Avenue, Edinburgh His first name was in recognition T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), a friend of his father when the family had lived in Southampton. Scott was the youngest of the family with two brothers and two sisters. His mum Winifred and his brothers and sisters were all born in Southampton.

Before Scott was born, their family hotel was bombed in an air raid. They were left with nothing and drove to start afresh in Edinburgh. Dad Sandy started with a van buying ex–army tools; cleaning them and selling them as a way of earning a living. One of Sandy’s friends had suggested opening up a shop in Haymarket, which he did, and Murray’s Tool Stores became very well known in Edinburgh.

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Scott went to Roseburn Primary and then Tynecastle Secondary School. He remembered a piano in the house which his Mum taught his sisters to play. Scott’s love of music probably started there, as it did for Fred, his eldest brother, who played the double bass in a jazz band. Scott also learnt to play double bass and at the age of 14 joined a concert party. He later swapped double bass for bass guitar and amplifier. It was in this concert party that he met two of his oldest friends, Stuart Smith and Jimmy Adams.

Within the concert party a small group had formed to play more modern tunes and Jimmy suggested they audition to play at The Gamp Club in Victoria Street. The audition was successful and their group, The Heartbeats, played there every Thursday. Managed by Jimmy, the group became The Screaming Citizens with Scott on bass, Brian Cockwell on guitar, Allan Pratt on drums and Stuart Smith on vocals.

In 1966 The Screaming Citizens transformed into This ‘N’ That, an eight-piece soul band which Scott managed after Jimmy left to work in Australia. Despite getting offers from professional groups, Scott preferred to stay in Edinburgh to help his Mum run the shop in Haymarket until she retired.

He married Anne Stewart in 1973. They had two lovely girls: Louise, who was born in 1976, and Sarah, who was born in 1978. After the music scene changed, Scott decided he was up for another challenge – water skiing: with everything he set his mind to, he always wanted to be the best and the trophies and medals he won at this sport prove that he achieved all his goals. He also loved water skiing for the wonderful social evenings he spent with his many friends.

Scott had always been interested in weightlifting, bodybuilding and keeping fit so, persuaded by John and Walter King, who helped a number of Sixties groups as roadies, Scott had another challenge to take on – wrestling: After a few years, Scott was starting to win medals such as The East of Scotland Champion, as well as medals at The Highland Games, and from then on he won the Scottish Championship about four or five times.

At the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton Canada in 1978 he came in fourth place at 90kg. The Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh in 1986 and on this occasion he was coach for the Scottish Wrestling Team and between them they won five medals – the most the Scottish team had ever won at these games. Scott took The British Wrestling Championship in 1988.

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He also became an excellent physiotherapist, treating clients in their homes. David Valentine, who had been helping out the Hearts physio, asked him for advice so Scott mentored him prior to David taking his exams, which he passed. When the All Blacks came to Edinburgh, David returned Scott’s favour and they both worked on the All Blacks team as qualified physios.

After the tool shop closed in 2000, Scott realised that there were opportunities to be had in knife-sharpening. He kitted out his van with the equipment he needed. Scott had always been a great trusted friend of the Asian community. He had made a point of learning to speak their language and they were his first customers.

Scott’s Asian customers also offered him a variety of work moving kitchen equipment, furniture etc in his van. Lawnmower sharpening then led to gardening work.

Scott was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010; it had spread to his bones and he went through many months of radiotherapy. Scott was adamant that cancer would not define him as a person or dictate how he would live his life. He was inspirational with his positive and cheerful outlook throughout it all. Doctors, surgeons and nurses were all in admiration of his stoicism.

In 2013, David Valentine asked Scott if he could reform This ‘N’ That and would join The Hipple People, playing once a month for people to enjoy memories of Sixties music at The Masonic Club in Shrubhill. Performing again energised Scott and gave him the chance to play the music he really loved in a large soul group.

By 2020 the group had grown to a ten-piece band. There was a terrific atmosphere at every different venue we played at. The wonderful musicians in the band have been a tremendous boost to the group’s popularity. Scott was without doubt an inspirational man to everyone who met him and during his last few years the band was a wonderful way of keeping him active. We had some great gigs as well as a lot of fun at our practice nights at his house.

Scott leaves behind Anne, Louise Sarah and five grandchildren. We will all miss him in our lives.

A small family service was held at West Lothian Crematorium on 26 May 2021.

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