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Campbell Petrie

Engineer and organist;

Born: February 9, 1921; Died: December 26, 2012

Campbell Petrie, who has died aged 91, was an engineer whose work included the design of frigates for the Royal Navy, Ravenscraig Steelworks and Hunterston Power Station.

He was born and brought up in Motherwell, where he was educated at Calder Public and Dalziel High Schools. Motherwell was the centre of the Scottish steel industry and a major location for heavy engineering, so it was not surprising that on leaving school he took up a position as an apprentice draughtsman at structural engineers Alexander Findlay. He pursued his engineering education at Coatbridge Technical College and the Royal Technical College, Glasgow.

During the Second World War, Alexander Findlay was involved in the design and construction of the Mulberry Harbour, which was an essential facility for landing men and armaments for the D-Day invasion landings in Normandy. During this time, he was also seconded to work on the design of frigates for the Royal Navy.

After the war, he moved to the Motherwell Bridge and Engineering Company and then to Colville Construction Company, which took part in the design and construction of structures for the new Ravenscraig steelworks which was then taking shape. He then returned to Motherwell Bridge as contracts manager for the structural work at Hunterston Power Station.

In 1977, at the height of the oil boom, in recognition of his worth within the industry, he was appointed chairman of the Council of British Manufacturers of Petroleum Equipment (CBMPE) for Scotland. The experience he gained from these phases equipped him for his ultimate position as sales director at Motherwell Bridge. His work took him to various parts of Europe and the Middle East , where his integrity and affable, courteous manner were tremendous assets to the company he served. He retired in 1985.

Mr Petrie had many interests outwith his work, notably in the church where, in addition to being a long-serving elder in the Church of Scotland, he was a highly -regarded organist and choirmaster. His first such appointment was at a church in Glasgow when he was 17. His next move was to Chalmers Church, Uddingston, and from there he proceeded to South Dalziel Church, Motherwell, where he remained for 14 years, during which time his choirs, junior and senior, presented numerous operettas and performed many oratorio excerpts (notably The Messiah) and other choral works. In this work he had the invaluable assistance of his wife, Mary.

He was a past president of the Rotary Club of Motherwell and Wishaw and under that club's auspices made an outstanding contribution to the community by setting up the Probus clubs of Motherwell and of Wishaw. These thriving clubs, with a combined membership of 120, provide a much-appreciated rendezvous for retired business and professional men. He was a past president of the Wishaw Toastmasters Club.

Music was a core element of the happy Petrie home and many an evening was spent round the piano in four-part harmony, with daughter Margaret and son Ian making up the quartet with their parents. Sadly, Ian died prematurely in 2002.

Mr Petrie's wife, Mary, died in 2006 and with the devoted support of Margaret and her husband, John Templeton, he looked after himself wonderfully well before eventually moving into Abbeyfield, Motherwell and then, to be nearer his daughter and family, to Woodside Care Home in Mauchline, where he died peacefully.

He is survived by his daughter Margaret, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and his brother Jack.

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