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James McFadzean

Leading figure in the Scouts

Leading figure in the Scouts

Born: January 22, 1921; Died: January 15, 2014

Jim McFadzean who has died, aged 92, was first and foremost a Scout. His life was defined by service to others, particularly the Scouts, the Kirk, and the town of Renfrew, where he lived all of his life. From joining Renfrew North Cub group in 1929 his dedication to Scouting and his embodiment of its principles - honour, trust, loyalty and friendship - were the hallmarks of both his professional and personal life.

After attending the Glebe School in Renfrew, he began serving his time as a patternmaker at Simons-Lobnits shipyard in 1937. His talents were quickly identified and he was asked to train as a model maker. Three of his ships remain on display in Glasgow's Transport Museum. He served in the Home Guard during the Second World War and, for many years, would enjoy telling people of his first night on duty in the Guard, the night of the Clydebank Blitz.

It was during this time that he became a leader with Renfrew Town Sea Scouts, beginning a spell of over 70 years of commitment to the group and the wider Scouting movement. He led the troop throughout the 1940s, becoming Group Scout Leader in the 1950s, a role he continued until 1986 when he became the group's chairman, a role he only relinquished in 2011. He was instrumental in the building of Renfrew Sea Scouts' first hall in the early 1960s and managed and oversaw its replacement in 1993.

But his Scouting horizons reached beyond Renfrew and he was influential in the formation of Loch Goil Outdoor Centre which opened in 1965. It has become one of the finest outdoor centres in Scotland. Some 20 years later, he became chairman of Renfrewshire's Outdoor Centre's management board, persuading others to change its name to Lapwing Lodge and creating the basis of a self-sustaining future. He founded the somewhat unconventional Lapwing Lodge Highland Games which are still going strong today. Fittingly, the main entrance into Lapwing Lodge is called McFadzean Drive. Tens of thousands of boys and girls have attended camps at Loch Goil and Lapwing Lodge.

He was awarded an MBE for services to the community but was even more proud of the Silver Wolf, the highest award in Scouting, given to those whose service has been of an exceptional nature which he received in 1983.

When Lobnits closed, he moved to become a technician at Paisley College of Technology, now the University of the West of Scotland, ultimately becoming the chief technician in civil engineering. Paisley College was helping to build a technical college in Kathmandu, Nepal, and Mr McFadzean relished the opportunity to help with the work overseas.

During two lengthy secondments in Nepal, he, of course, took the opportunity to encourage the youngsters in Kathmandu to become involved in Cubs and Scouts. The tens of thousands of young people who were influenced and inspired by him stretch from Renfrew to Kathmandu and, up until his death, he was in regular correspondence with former Scouts in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and across the globe.

He was also a keen golfer and a lifelong member of Renfrew Golf Club. A committed Christian, he served for many years as an elder in Renfrew Parish Church. In 1970, he became a JP, serving the community for many years in the Paisley Courts

A true lad o'pairts, his creativity took many forms. He was a talented photographer, wood carver and his watercolour paintings decorate the walls of his many friends and family.

But he never rested. Even in his last few weeks in the Southern General Hospital, he was writing notes of ideas to pass on to Renfrew Sea Scouts' current leaders. He also met and corresponded regularly with Renfrew's politicians, suggesting improvements for the town.

He was the first to acknowledge he could not have achieved all that he did in his life without the love, support and encouragement of his late wife Agnes Graham, to whom he was married for more than 60 years.

From attending numerous Scout Camps to one memorable occasion when he decided to use part of their wardrobe to carve a plaque for a friend, Agnes was the rock on which his public life was founded.

He is survived by sons Craig and Graham, daughter-in -law Pamela and Mhairi, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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