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Dr George Philp

Co-founder of the Scots Language Society;

Born February 9, 1931; Died November 3, 2012 .

Dr George Philp, who has died aged 81, was one of the country's most influential champions of the Scots language.

The Glasgow-based osteopath devoted most of his time to preserving and promoting the language of the Lowlands and helped to found the Scots Language Society, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Along with a sound recordist, he also created Scotsoun, an extraordinary audio archive of Scotland, embracing the voices of the great makars, plus literature and modern poetry.

Dunfermline-born, he was educated at the capital's George Watson's College and Edinburgh University, where he gained degrees in medicine and bacteriology. His working life began in a Fife laboratory but he soon moved to Glasgow where he completed his medical registration at the Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women and the Victoria Infirmary.

He followed this with a year at the London College of Osteopathy, after which he came back to Glasgow where he established an osteopathy practice in the city's Ashton Road.

The idea for the Scots Language Society came when he was introduced to two fellow enthusiasts, Henry Kinnaird and David Angus, at a friend's house in Dollar.

Determined to secure the survival of the language, they set up the Lallans Society in May 1972, creating an organisation dedicated to Scots, to fostering and promoting it as a language and to encourage greater appreciation of Scottish literature.

George Philp was elected first president and Hugh MacDiarmid honorary vice-president of the organisation, which would later change its name to the Scots Language Society.

Dr Philp was also a keen hillwalker – he never lost his love of the Cairngorm area, which he was introduced to as a 10-year-old – and it was while out on the hills with Henry Kinnaird in the 1970s that he first hit upon the idea of capturing the sounds of the nation. On hearing the distinctive sound of a peewee calling to her chicks, he turned to his friend and said: "That's one of the sounds of Scotland."

He contacted sound recordist Allan Ramsay, whom he knew from a previous venture, and they began collaborating, Dr Philp dubbing the sound man The Sorcerer and himself the Sorcerer's Apprentice. They recorded 158 hours of readings of Scots poetry, language and prose, initially on cassettes and later on CDs.

Dr Philp went on to produce a teaching pack on Scots for primary schools, start a visual counterpart to Scotsoun – Scotseen – establish the Scotsoun lecture series and develop his own spelling system for the Scots language, Scotscrieve.

Over the years he was presented with numerous awards, including the Burns-Gaelic Trust Federation Trophy, which he won with Allan Ramsay, and the Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun Award for services to Scotland. He was also elected an honorary fellow of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies

Dr Philp, who retired as an osteopath in 1996, went on to study Gaelic, gaining his Higher at the age of 72.

But Scots was his first love and his dedication to preserving the language over the last 40 years his legacy.

Dr Philp is survived by his wife Sheila, daughters Alison, Marion, Helen and Jean and five grandchildren.

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