Remembering those we’ve lost in 2011

Sir Jimmy Savile, presenter and DJ
Sir Jimmy Savile, presenter and DJ
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This year we said goodbye to many great names in the arts, sport and politics. Here, we pay tribute to those who have died, and their achievements

JANUARY

A host of singers and acts with long-standing associations to Gerry Rafferty paid tribute to the singer-songwrite

A host of singers and acts with long-standing associations to Gerry Rafferty paid tribute to the singer-songwrite

Pete Postlethwaite, actor

Born 7 February, 1946, in Warrington, Died 2 January, in Shrewsbury, aged 64

The Academy Award winning actor, whom Steven Spielberg dubbed “the greatest actor in the world”, was known for roles in Brassed Off, The Usual Suspects, and the In Name of the Father.

Gerry Rafferty, musician

Seve Ballesteros, golfer. Picture: David Cannon/Getty

Seve Ballesteros, golfer. Picture: David Cannon/Getty

Born 16 April, 1947, in Paisley, Died 4 January, in Bournemouth, Aged 63.

Rafferty started his career with the Humblebums, and later joined Stealers Wheel. The singer-songwriter was the force behind such top ten hits as Stuck in the Middle with You and Baker Street.

Peter Yates, director

Born 24 July, 1929, in Aldershot, Died 9 January, in London, Aged 81.

Elisabeth Sladen, actress. Picture: Joel Ryan/PA Wire

Elisabeth Sladen, actress. Picture: Joel Ryan/PA Wire

Forever known as the mastermind behind the breathtaking chase scene in Bullitt, Yates also directed Breaking Away, The Hot Rock and The Dresser.

Susannah York, actress

Born: 9 January, 1939, in London. Died: 15 January, 2011, in London, aged 72.

Susannah York was a striking figure on screen. The camera loved her luscious blond hair, brilliant blue eyes and strong facial features. She was a female icon of the 1960s. The movies in which she appeared were among the highly praised of the era, and included Tunes of Glory

Captain Jack Bitmead DSO, navy hero and market gardener

Born: 28 January, 1919, in Cholsey, Berkshire. Died: 21 December, 2010, in Edinburgh, aged 91.

Captain Jack Bitmead was best known in the latter half of his life as a market gardener who supplied Edinburgh shops and the royal kitchens in Scotland, but he was born a farmer’s son in Berkshire.

Alec Boden, footballer

Born 13 August, 1925, in Hardgate, Dumbartonshire, Died 24 January, Aged 85.

Centre half who played for Celtic in the 1940s and 50s. Played in the club’s 1951 Scottish Final, against Motherwell. Boden later signed with Ayr United, and coached the Celtic reserves in the 60s.

John Barry, composer

Born 3 November 1933, in York, Died 30 January, in Oyster Bay, New York, Aged 77.

Barry’s long and illustrious career included composing soundtracks for the films Out of Africa, From Russia with Love and a number of James Bond movies. His achievements were acknowledged with five Academy Awards.

FEBRUARY

Peter Pilkington, Academic and former Chairman of the BBC

Born 5 September 1933, in Newcastle. Died 14 February, Aged 77.

Baron Pilkington of Oxenford was an Anglican priest and distinguished schoolmaster who chaired the BBC Complaints Commission from 1992-96.

Brian Bonsor MBE, music teacher and composer

Born: 21 August, 1926, in Hawick. Died: 22 February, 2011, in Hawick, Aged 84.

Bonsor was a respected and admired teacher at Hawick High School who enthused generations of pupils to play and enjoy music. He was much in demand as a guest lecturer throughout the world, and a gifted conductor and arranger.

Jane Russell, actress

Born 21 June, 1921 in Minnesota, USA. Died 28 February, in California, Aged 89.

The buxom star became a pin-up when she posed provocatively on a hay bale to promote Howard Hughes’ film The Outlaw, but won hearts playing opposite Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

MARCH

Danny Paton, footballer

Born 27 January 1936 in Breich. Died 10 March, in Aged 75.

Paton played forward for Heart of Midlothian and Oxford United. He was part of the Hearts side that won the 1962 Scottish league Cup Final.

Margaret Fish, supercentenarian

Born 7 March, 1899 in Wilstead, Bedfordshire. Died 12 March, in Wilstead, aged 112.

At the time of her death, Fish was the oldest person in the UK.

Roy Flatt, Anglican priest

Born 4 September 1947 in Bury St Edmunds, Died 13 March, in Lochgilphead, Aged 63.

Rev Canon Flatt was a busy Highland minister equally renowned for his work in Zambia. Ecumenism was one of his great passions and he was enormously honoured to be invited by the Church of Scotland Presbytery of Argyll to become a corresponding member and, latterly, the presbytery’s ecumenical affairs officer and vice convenor of its mission committee.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor, actress and activist

Born 27 February, 1932 in London, Died 23 March, in Los Angeles, Aged 79.

Taylor was an iconic beauty as famous for her love of jewellery and her marriages – including two to Richard Burton – as for her films, which included National Velvet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cleopatra, Giant and Father of the Bride. Latterly, Taylor was an outspoken Aids activist.

Dr Brenda Moon, university librarian

Born: 11 April, 1931, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Died 7 March, in Edinburgh Aged 80.

Dr Brenda Moon made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the modernisation and preservation of the books and artefacts at the University of Edinburgh library.

Ishbel MacAskill, Gaelic singer and heritage campaigner

Born 14 March, 1941 in Broker, isle of Lewis. Died 31 March, in Inverness, aged 70.

MacAskill has been described as “the Golden voice of Gaelic song”. Angus MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles, said: “Not only was she a lovely lady but she had a unique voice … She will be a huge loss to Gaelic culture. Ishbel was a tremendous ambassador for the language.”

APRIL

John Niven, footballer

Born 15 May 1921 in Coatbridge. Died 4 April, in Neilston, Aged 89.

As a League Cup winner with a team who beat all the odds to triumph at Hampden park, Niven enjoyed a successful career during the post-war era. The East Fife goalkeeper played a big part in guiding his team to success in the 1947 League Cup final at Hampden.

James Blair, footballer

Born 13 January 1947, in Calderbank. Died 6 April, in Belgium, Aged 64.

Blair was a professional striker for St Mirren who moved to Hibernian in 1970 before returning to St Mirren. He also played for Norwich City and Belgian club KV Mechelen. Blair made 158 appearances in the Scottish Football League and the Football League, scoring 65 goals.

Sidney Lumet, film director

Born 25 June, 1924 in Philadelphia. Died 9 April, in Manhattan, NY, Aged 86.

Lumet was a director who preferred the streets of NY to the backlots of Hollywood and whose stories of conscience – 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict and Network – became modern American film classics.

Jimmy Briggs, footballer

Born 8 April 1933 in Dundee. Died 11 April, in Dundee, Aged 74.

Briggs was one of the players who changed the local landscape in Dundee in the 1960s, and was one of the first players recognised when Dundee’s Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2008.

Ronnie Coyle, footballer

Born 6 August 1964, in Glasgow. Died 12 April, in Glasgow, Aged 46.

Coyle started his career with the Celtic Boys Club and Scotland’s under-15s team, and went on to play for many teams, including Raith Rovers, Ayr United, and Albion Rovers. After finishing his career with Queens Park, he worked in sales and marketing.

Elisabeth Sladen, actress

Born 1 February, 1946, in Liverpool. Died 19 April, in London, Aged 63.

Renowned as beloved Doctor Who companion Sarah Jane Smith, she worked alongside Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, and returned to the series during David Tennant’s era, as well as starring in two spin-offs, K-9 and Company and the rather more successful The Sarah Jane Adventures.

John Sullivan, OBE, television scriptwriter

Born 23 December, 1946, in Balham. Died 23 April, in Surrey, Aged 64.

Sullivan was responsible for two of the most popular comedy sitcoms on BBC television: Only Fools and Horses, and Citizen Smith.

Marian Joan Elliot-Said, aka Poly Styrene, punk rocker

Born 3 July, 1957 in Bromley, Kent. Died 25 April, in Hastings, Aged 53.

This British musician was best known as the lead singer of pioneering punk band X-Ray Spex.

Edward Hunter Turnbull, footballer and manager

Born 12 April 1923, in Falkirk. Died 30 April, in Edinburgh aged 88.

In the late 1940s and 50s, Turnbull was one of the Hibernian forward line known as the Famous Five, part of a team that won three titles. He was selected nine times to play for Scotland, and appeared in the 1958 World Cup, but did not actually get a cap until 2006, owing to a technicality. He managed the successful Aberdeen team between 1965-71.

MAY

Sir Henry Cooper, heavyweight boxing champion

Born 3 May, 1934, in London. Died 1 May, in Oxted, Surrey, Aged 76.

Boxer known for his warm personality and deadly left hook, dubbed “‘Enry’s ‘Ammer.”

Tommy Wright, footballer

Born 20 January, 1928, in Clackmanann. Died 5 May, in Sunderland, Aged 83.

Right-winger who played three times for Scotland.

Claude Choules, soldier

Born 3 March, 1901 in Pershore, Worcestershire. Died 5 May, in Fremantle, Australia, Aged 110.

Choules was was the last surviving First World War combat veteran, and the last military witness to the scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow. He was also the last veteran to have served in both world wars.

Seve Ballesteros, golfer

Born 9 April, 1957, in Pedrena, Spain. Died 7 May, in Pedrena, Aged 54.

Known across a doting world simply as Seve, he was Europe’s most gifted and charismatic golfer. He claimed the Open title in 1979, 1984 and 1988, the Masters in 1980 and 1983 and led a golden age in European golf as both player and captain in the Ryder Cup.

David Cairns, politician

Born 7 August, 1966, in Greenock. Died 9 May, in London, Aged 44.

The former priest went on to become an effective and popular Scottish Office minister for Greenock and Inverclyde.

Ernest John Munro Walker, OBE, CBE, football administrator

Born 7 July 1928 in Glasgow. Died 14 May, in Glasgow, Aged 82.

In his 13-year reign as the Scottish Football Association’s secretary, he gained a reputation as a stickler for discipline on the pitch, and a man who fought Scottish football’s corner off it.

Thomas Anderson BEM, Pipe Major with the Cameronians

Born 27 October, 1931 in Selkirk. Died 22 May, in Edinburgh, Aged 79.

From a young age, Anderson was a gifted and committed piper, becoming the youngest pipe major in the British army. He played at Churchill’s state funeral.

Col Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson, KCVO, deputy master of the household and equerry to the Queen

Born 17 July, 1929, in London. Died 24 May, in Somerset, Aged 81.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Blair Stewart-Wilson was a consummate courtier, as comfortable in the company of gillies on Deeside as he was with the monarch on state occasions.

Gil Scott-Heron, poet and musician

Born 1 April, 1949, in Chicago. Died 27 May, in Manhattan, Aged 62.

Scott-Heron was a poet and recording artist whose syncopated spoken style and mordant critiques of politics, racism and mass media, in pieces such as The Revolution will Not Be Televised, made him a notable voice of black protest culture in the 1970s, and an early influence on hip-hop.

JUNE

Josephine Hart (Lady Saatchi), novelist

Born 3 March, in County Westmeath, Ireland. Died 2 June, Aged 69.

Hart was a central and colourful figure in London’s artistic and political life. She wrote several novels (her first, Damage, was a worldwide success and made into a film by Louis Malle), produced plays and founded Gallery Poets at the British Library where she cajoled leading actors to recite famous works.

Clarence Clemons, saxophonist

Born 11 January, 1942 in Norfolk, Virginia. Died 18 June, in Palm Beach, Florida, Aged 69.

As the saxophonist for the E Street Band, with his characteristic braying sound, he was Bruce Springsteen’s “soulful sideman”. Springsteen called him, “My great friend, my partner.”

Peter Michael Falk, actor

Born 16 September, 1927, in Manhattan. Died 23 June, in Beverly Hills, California, Aged 83.

Though he appeared in numerous movies, including The Princess Bride and A Woman Under the Influence, Peter Falk was best known as the outwardly bumbling, inwardly shrewd detective Columbo, one of the most beloved television characters of all time.

Margaret Tyzack, actress

Born 9 September, 1931, in Plaistow. Died 25 June, in Blackheath, London, Aged 79.

Emmy-nominated for Best Dramatic Actress (Limited Episodes) in 1972 for her title performance in Cousin Bette on Masterpiece Theatre. She also starred in A Clockwork Orange and 2001, A Space Odyssey.

JULY

Willie Fernie, footballer

Born 22 November, 1928, in Kinglassie, Fife. Died 1 July, in Glasgow, Aged 82.

A dynamic all-rounder, Fernie will be recalled by Celtic fans for ever for his finest match, which was the club’s record 7-1 victory over Rangers in the Scottish League Cup Final of 1957. Fernie was given the honour of slotting home the final penalty to round off the scoreline, still the highest in any British cup final.

Anna Massey, actress

Born 11 August, 1937, in Sussex. Died 3 July, Aged 73.

In a career spanning more than half a century, Massey worked with some of cinema and television’s greatest directors and writers, and she proved herself in everything from Dickens to the most controversial sex drama of the day. Her credits include Peeping Tom, The Darling Buds of May, Frenzy, and her Bafta-winning turn in Hotel du Lac.

Cy Twombly (Edwin Parker Twombly Jr), artist

Born 25 April, 1928, in Lexington, Virginia. Died 5 July, in Rome, Aged 83.

Twombly’s spare, childlike scribbles and poetic engagement with antiquity left him stubbornly out of step with the movements of post-war art even as he became one of the era’s most important painters. His 1970 work, Souvenir de L’Île des Saintes, is jointly owned by the National Galleries of Scotland and the Tate.

Betty Ford, former first lady of the US, founder of addiction and rehabilitation centre

Born 8 April, 1918, in Chicago, Illinois. Died 8 July, in Palm Springs, California, Aged 93.

the outspoken and much-admired wife of former president Gerald Ford, overcame alcoholism and an addiction to pills and helped found one of the best-known rehabilitation centres in the United States. “She was Jerry Ford’s strength through some very difficult days in our country’s history,” said another former president, Ronald Reagan.

Lucien Freud, artist

Born 8 December, 1922, in Berlin. Died 20 July, in London, Aged 88.

Freud’s stark and revealing paintings of friends and intimates, splayed nude in his studio, recast the art of portraiture and offered a new approach to figurative art.

Amy Winehouse, singer

Born 14 September, 1983, in Southgate, London. Died 23 July, in London, Aged 27.

A mesmerising singer, Winehouse’s talents were overshadowed by her inner demons, and she became tabloid fodder thanks to her very public struggle with her addictions. Her albums sold in the millions, and won numerous awards, including a Brit award, several Ivor Novello awards, and five Grammys.

Edward Argent, director of drama at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance

Born 21 August, 1931, in London. Died 26 July, in Glasgow, Aged 79.

Throughout his 20 years at the RSAMD, Argent brought enthusiasm and crusading zeal to the teaching of drama. He moulded and advanced careers, and recognised in each a special quality which he worked to nurture and develop.

AUGUST

Michael Bukht, OBE (also known as Michael Barry), television chef and radio executive

Born 10 September, 1941, in London. Died 4 August, in Kent, Aged 69.

As A media controller, Bukht was widely known in the industry as the inspiration behind Classic FM which, in 1992, directly took on the BBC’s Radio 3 monopoly of broadcasting classical music.

Diana Lamplugh, OBE, campaigner for personal safety

Born 30 July, 1936, in Cheltenham. Died 18 August, in London, Aged 75.

In 1986, when her daughter Suzy disappeared, Lamplugh helped the police with their investigation. Her courage and dignity proved inspirational.

Jimmy Sangster, film director

Born 2 December, 1927, in Kinmel Bay, North Wales. Died 19 August, in London, Aged 83.

Sangster was most famous as a driving force behind the Hammer Horror films, directing and writing for such creepy classics as Blood of the Vampire, The Brides of Dracula, and The Curse of Frankenstein.

David Petrie, MSP and teacher

Born 10 December, 1946, in Oban. Died 31 August, in Edinburgh, Aged 64.

A Conservative, Petrie was an MSP for Highlands and Islands from 2006-2007, and later became a popular part-time mathematics teacher at Trinity Academy.

John McAleese, SAS soldier

Born 25 April, 1949, in Lauriestoun, Stirlingshire. Died 26 August, in Greece, Aged 61.

The SAS legend who led the dramatic raid on London’s Iranian embassy will live on in the iconic image of McAleese and his team jumping over a balcony dressed in combat gear wearing black balaclavas and carrying guns in London’s Knightsbridge, which was captured on live television.

SEPTEMBER

Andy Whitfield, actor

Born 17 July, 1972, in Amlwch, North Wales. Died 11 September, in Sydney, Australia, Aged 39.

A popular television star in his adopted home of Australia, Whitfield played the title role in all 13 episodes of cult hit television series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which attracted media attention for its graphic violence and sex.

Douglas John Moray Stuart, 20th Earl of Moray

Born: 13 February, 1928, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Died: 23 September, 2011, Aberdeen, Aged 83.

The Earl of Moray, was director and chairman of one of Scotland’s largest and most successful landed estate companies, Moray Estates Development Company Ltd. In 1984 he placed Doune Castle in the care of the nation, and it’s now looked after by Historic Scotland.

Gusty Spence, politician

Born 28 June, 1933, in Belfast. Died 24 September, in Belfast, Aged 78.

Former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) leader Gusty Spence was a feared killer in the 1960s but later renounced violence and announced the 1994 Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire.

Rev Kerr Spiers, minister and broadcaster

Born 9 September, 1931, in Hamilton. Died 28 September, in Glasgow, Aged 80.

Kerr Speirs was proof that the words “liberal Baptist” are not a contradiction. He occupied two of the Baptist denomination’s most significant pulpits, Hillhead Baptist Church in Glasgow and Coats Memorial in Paisley.

Iain Sproat, former MP

Born 8 November, 1938, in Dollar. Died 29 September, in Aberdeenshire, Aged 72.

Sproat was a gifted and accomplished politician who decided not to contest Aberdeen South in 1983, despite having won the seat three times. Instead he fought for Roxburgh & Berwickshire, and was defeated by 3,396 votes.

OCTOBER

Bert Jansch, musician

Born 3 November, 1943, in Glasgow. Died 5 October, in London, Aged 67.

Known as “Britain’s Bob Dylan,” Jansch was a renowned folk musician and co-founder of the group Pentangle. Folk singer Dick Gaughan said: “Bert revolutionised the guitar. I don’t think anybody has ever been revered as much as he is.”

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Born 24 February 1955, in California. Died 5 October, in California? Aged 56.

Revered as an eccentric genius, Jobs was the visonary behind the Macintosh computer, the iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. He was also behind the super-successful Pixar studios, makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Widely credited with doing more to influence what the world watches, how it listens to music, and how it spends its leisure time than anyone in the world.

George Baker, MBE, actor

Born 1 April, 1931, in Bulgaria. Died 7 October, in Wiltshire, Aged 80.

Baker is best remembered for playing Chief Inspector Wexford in the Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

Cliff Robertson, actor

Born 9 September, 1923, in Los Angeles. Died 9 October, in, Stony Brook, New York, Aged 88.

Cliff Robertson, who won an Oscar for his star turn in Charly, may be best known to younger readers for playing Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man movies. He also appeared in PT109, playing the young John F Kennedy.

Adam Hunter, golfer

Born 26 September, in Glasgow. Died 14 October, in Glasgow, Aged 48.

Hunter rose from the amateur ranks, to become a winner on the European Tour. In 1995, he claimed the Portuguese Open title, beating Darren Clarke, the current Open champion, in a play-off. But it was as coach that Hunter made the biggest impact on the game, using his knowledge to help aspiring Scottish golfers make the most of their talent.

Betty Driver, MBE, actress

Born 20 May, 1920, in Leicester. Died 15 October, in Manchester, Aged 91.

Driver began her career as a popular singer, but is best remembered for making hotpots, in character as Betty Williams on Coronation Street. Over 42 years, she appeared in nearly 3,000 episodes. At her memorial, co-star Helen Worth said: “She was the ultimate professional and knew everything there was to showbiz, including stealing your scene without any words. A perfect look timed to perfection which lit up the screen.”

Dan Wheldon, Indy car driver

Born 22 June, 1978, in Emberton, Buckinghamshire. Died 16 October, in Las Vegas, Aged 33.

Wheldon was a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, but was critically hurt when his car sailed over the top of another vehicle during a massive crash on Lap 13 of the Las Vegas Indy 300.

Ronald Chalmers, MBE, baker and Bevin Boy

Born 19 August, 1926, in Whiterashes, Aberdeenshire. Died 18 October, in Aberdeen, Aged 85.

Crofter’s son Ronald Chalmers was one of the forgotten conscripts, a Bevin Boy, who rose to become baker to the Queen.

Campbell Christie, trade unionist

Born 23 August, 1937, in Carsluith. Died 28 October, Aged 74.

Christie was a political figure who could cross party boundaries and campaigns and still remain respected by all. He was best known as the trade unionist who presided over the Scottish Trades Union Congress during some of its most difficult years: first through the latter days of Thatcherism and then Tony Blair’s creation of New Labour and the scrapping of Clause IV. .

Sir Jimmy Savile, disc jockey and television presenter

Born 31 October, 1926, in Leeds. Died 29 October, in Leeds, Aged 84.

With his trademark cigar, flowing blond locks, garish tracksuits and gold bling, Jimmy Savile was a wonderful eccentric. For years he was honorary Chieftain of the Lochaber Games. He presented the first Top of The Pops in 1964, and Jim’ll Fix It, from 1975-94. A tireless fundraiser, he’s believed to have raised more than £40m for charity.

NOVEMBER

John Henderson McKay CBE, former Lord Provost of Edinburgh

Born: 12 May, 1929, in West Lothian. Died: 1 November, 2011, in Edinburgh, aged 82.

McKay was Lord Provost of Edinburgh between 1984 and 1988, and upheld the boycott of Edinburgh’s 1986 Commonwealth Games, over the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

John Young, politician

Born 21 December, 1930 in Glasgow. Died 3 November, Aged 80.

Young was MSP for West of Scotland from 1999-2003. He was propelled to national prominence in 1995 when, with four other former chairmen of the Conservatives in Glasgow Cathcart, Young launched the Cathcart Declaration, an attempt to appeal to the then-Conservative government in London to change course and to embrace a referendum on independence and devolution.

Loulou de la Falaise, fashion muse and designer

Born 4 May, 1948 in England. Died 5 November, in Boury-en-Vexin, France Aged 63.

Best known as the muse of Yves St Laurent, and a socialite who was well known on the international nightclub scene, de la Falaise went on to forge a successful career in jewellery design.

Joe Frazier, boxer

Born 12 January, 1944, in Beaufort, South Carolina. Died 7 November, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Aged 67.

One of the greatest fighters of all time, the heavyweight is best remembered for being the first man to ever beat Muhammad Ali. Their third battle, dubbed The Thriller in Manila, is judged by some to have been “the best heavyweight fight of all time”.

Katherine Grant of Rothiemurchas, 12th Countess of Dysart

Born 1 June, 1918, in North Wales. Died 8 November, in Invernessshire, Aged 93.

Known to her family as “Highland Katie,” the Countess is beloved for helping to preserve, protect, and beautify the Rothiemurchas estate, which lies at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

Evelyn Lauder, philanthropist

Born 12 August, 1936 in Vienna. Died 12 November, in Manhattan, Aged 75.

A refugee from Nazi persecution who married into one of America’s most prominent families, Lauder became an outspoken and tireless fundraiser who raised millions to promote breast cancer awareness.

Jackie Leven, musician

Born 18 June, 1950, in Kirkaldy. Died 14 November, in Hampshire Aged 61.

Known (and loved) for his maverick ways, Leven worked as a labourer before finding his way first to Berlin and then to Spain, where he recorded his first album, Control, under the name of John St Field. Back in the UK he formed Doll By Doll.

Shelagh Delaney, playwright

Born 25 November, 1939, in Salford, Lancashire. Died 20 November, in Suffolk, Aged 71.

When Delaney was still a teenager she wrote Taste of Honey, about a working-class teenager who becomes pregnant out of wedlock. She was part of the new wave of social realism – kitchen sink dramas – sweeping through Britain in the 1950s.

Gerald Laing, artist

Born 11 February, 1936, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Died 23 November in Inverness-shire Aged 75.

Laing was catapulted to fame while still an art student, with his pop art portrait of Brigitte Bardot. Upon returning to Scotland in the 1970s, Laing rediscovered sculpture, though in later years he’d returned to painting, again choosing his subject matter from the headlines and pop culture, including a series of pictures of singer Amy Winehouse.

Steve Robertson, actor, lawyer, rector of Aberdeen University

Born in 1933 in Aberdeen. Died 27 November, in Aberdeen, Aged 78.

Originally a lawyer, Robertson was one of the trio who launched the satirical show Scotland the What? at the 1969 Edinburgh Fringe, bringing the North-East’s dialect, Doric, to a wider audience. Robertson was elected rector of Aberdeen University in 2008 and was a much loved character in the Granite City.

Gary Speed, football player/manager

Born 8 September 1969, in Mancot, Flintshire. Died 27 November, in Cheshire, Aged 42.

After a stellar career on the pitch – he was capped 85 times for his country – Speed became a coach for Wales’s national team.

Ken Russell, film director

Born 3 July 1927, in Southampton. Died 27 November, in Hampshire, Aged 84.

Wildly eccentric and original – even in his private life – Russell was best known for directing films such as Women in Love, Tommy, and Altered States.

DECEMBER

Christopher Logue, poet, novelist, Private Eye columnist

Born 23 November, 1926, in Portsmouth. Died 2 December, aged 85.

Logue’s translation of Homer’s Iliad is reckoned to be on a par with that of Alexander Pope. He also wrote plays and film scripts, and was recruited by Peter Cook to work at Private Eye, notably, as editor of the Pseuds’ Corner column.

Jean Smith, journalist

Born 5 April, 1931, in Glasgow. Died 4 December, in Edinburgh, aged 80.

Smith forged a career in newspapers when the profession was still dominated by men, working for both The Scotsman and the Herald. Her family was connected to the Glasgow Girls, on her mother’s side. She was a stalwart of Edinburgh societies, such as the Old Town Association and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Dobie Gray, musician

Born 26 July, 1940, near Houston, Texas. Died 6 December, aged 71.

The singer-songwriter’s career spanned soul, country, pop and musical theatre, but he’s best known for the hits The “In” Crowd and Drift Away, which sold more than a million copies.

Harry Morgan, actor

Born 10 April, 1915, in Detroit, Michigan. Died 7 December, in Los Angeles, aged 96.

The character actor had a long and prolific career, but was best known for portraying Colonel Potter on the long-running television series M*A*S*H.

Gilbert Adair, author

Born 29 December, 1944, in Edinburgh. Died 8 December, in London, aged 66.

Adair was a film critic, novelist, screenwriter and journalist best known for cinematic adaptations of his novels, such as Love and Death on Long Island, made in 1997 and starring John Hurt.

Russell Hoban, writer

Born 4 February, 1925, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Died 13 December, 2011, Aged 86, in London.

Probably best known for his dark fable The Mouse and His Child, Hoban wrote and illustrated widely across genres and media, building a loyal following.

Christopher Hitchens, writer

Born 13 April, 1949, in Portsmouth. Died 15 December, in Houston, Aged 62.

An outspoken and prolific author and journalist, he was famous on both sides of the Atlantic for his atheism, his habit of taking aim at sacred cows such as the British Monarchy and Mother Teresa, and his prodigious capacity for drink.

Václav Havel, writer and first president of the Czech republic

Born 5 October, 1936, in Prague. Died 18 December, 2011, in Vlcice, aged 75.

As the leader of the opposition to the Soviet-backed government in Czechoslovakia, Havel was repeatedly jailed and persecuted for his dissenting work. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and the later split with Slovakia, Havel guided the Czech Republic’s accession into the EU in 2004.