Meteorologist and journalist;
Born: March 26, 1912; Died: July 26, 2012.
Archie MacNiven, has died aged 100, was a meteorologist, a journalist, an experienced sailor and a well-known and widely loved Troon resident.
The second son of John and Elizabeth, he was born in Dovercote, Essex, near Harwich, but in 1919 moved to Renton, near Dumbarton, to stay with his grandparents until 1936.
He spent most of his spare time walking over the hills to Helensburgh to visit his father's relatives, his aunts Lily and Mary. As successful businesswomen, they had a great influence in his life.
As a youngster he was a keen outdoor enthusiast, interested in nature, birds and wildlife. He also liked competitive sports, such as football, but it was golf that was to be his passion for more than 50 years until his love of sailing took over.
He excelled at school, going on to attend Glasgow University, but stopped short of completing his degree due to the untimely death of his brother William, who passed away in his teens.
He went to work as a technical journalist, as a proofreader and researcher. In 1938 he made a career move to take up a post with the Meteorological Office at Cranfield, Bedford.
This was where he found his vocation, first at several air bases in the south of England, forecasting for aircraft, gunnery and barrage balloons, until in 1943 he served as a Flying Officer, then a Flight Lieutenant attached to the Tactical Bomber Force in the Mediterranean.
He returned to London in 1946 to take up a post at Transport Command at Northholt which saw him serving on the weather ship Weather Observer until 1949.
It was during this time he met his wife, Elizabeth who, like him, loved the great outdoors and walking. She was also an accomplished pianist. They married in 1950 and were together for more than 55 years. During that time Mr MacNiven's postings saw them continually move around the country with their two children, John and Eve, until they settled in Troon when he was based at Prestwick airport.
The call of the sea was such that it was not long before he gave up golf to buy a boat; with his meteorology and navigational skills he was indeed an able seaman. He joined Troon Cruising Club where he spent most of his spare time on the water with his son John.
When Mr MacNiven retired in 1974, he threw himself into sailing, taking part in club events. A year later he joined the Ocean Youth Club, giving lectures, and it was not long before his charity work saw him on large ocean-going yachts taking out groups of youngsters with difficult backgrounds.
The youths learned to respect his style and some went on to crew for him at Troon. To celebrate his 75th birthday he bought himself his last and most cherished boat, Datestamp.
It was a proud day in 1993 when Troon Cruising Club awarded him his honorary membership of the club for his contribution to sailing.
He was a gentleman in every sense. He was a good storyteller, had a quirky sense of humour, was kind, gentle and could always bring a smile to anyone he talked to. He never wavered in his firm belief in all he did in life.
The world will be a sadder place without Archie MacNiven. He will be missed by all who came to know him but he left us all with a legacy of a generation of fond memories.
Elizabeth passed away in 2007 and he is survived by his two children and two grandchildren.
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