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Dennis Crawford


Born November 8, 1923; Died: October 22, 2012

Dennis Bryon Crawford, who has died aged 88, had a long and distinguished career in forestry and was part of the great movement to replenish the nation's timber supplies after the decimations of two world wars, by replanting, new planting and commercial management. He also helped the timber industry in Scotland to expand and increase its significant contribution to the national economy.

He was a proud Yorkshireman and became a naturalised Scot. He first visited Scotland at the age of 12 on the back of an elder brother's motorbike, a journey which in the 1930s took three days. On reaching the Highlands they climbed Ben Lawers. It was one of those clear days when from the summit you could see from coast to coast; he fell in love with Scotland at that moment.

He returned in the 1940s and began his career at Benmore Forestry School in Argyll. He was a top student and went straight into the Forestry Commission, where he worked from 1945 to 1954. He then moved from state to private sector.

He was responsible for some of the early afforestation in the south- west, working with estate owners, factors and farmers. One of his major initiatives was running practical forestry courses, for both forest workers, and managers and owners.

In 1967 he moved to Edinburgh to become managing director of the Scottish Woodland Owners Association. The following year a severe storm devastated forests in western Scotland, threatening to flood the timber market. He was appointed to the government committee that dealt with the aftermath and ensured that windblown timber was harvested and the land re-planting.

During his time at the helm, the organisation was divided into a representative body for growers (later Timber Growers Scotland and now Confor) and SWOAC and Mr Crawford ran the latter. He designed the distinctive tree pound sign logo, still in use today by the company (now known as Scottish Woodlands Ltd). In his role as MD, he expanded the company, opening new offices, so that SWOAC had nationwide coverage. He retired from the company at the end of 1983, but continued to serve on committees. He finally left the forestry world in the mid-1990s, finding he now preferred working on a smaller scale, pruning the roses, to the detail of committee work.

He received the OBE in 1984 for services to forestry, particularly in Scotland. He married Bunty in 1955. Their children, encouraged by his love of the outdoors, followed their father into land-based professions: Carol, an ecologist and chartered forester, and Mark, a farmer.

He is survived by his wife, daughter, son and three grandsons.

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