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Robert Cannon

Farmer and community stalwart;

Born: September 15, 1929; Died: December 22, 2012.

Robert Taylor Cannon, who has died aged 83, was the cornerstone, and often the foundation stone of many organisations in the south-west of Scotland.

Born at Littlepark, near Newton Stewart, he was educated at Stronord School before moving briefly to Glasgow with his family as a young boy. The lure of green fields and open spaces took the family back to the countryside and in the 1940s they settled into farming life at Redbrae Farm, between Wigtown and Kirkcowan.

Mr Cannon farmed at Little Torhouse before moving to Redbrae in 1968, but it was the voluntary contribution he made to his community through local agriculture, sport and the church that marked him out from the crowd as a man of commitment and dedication.

As a young man, he filled all the committee posts in the local Young Farmers' Club before moving on to serve the Agricultural Society, where he remained active until 2008 as commentator at the annual Wigtown Show Day.

The local Ploughing Society was flagging in the mid-1950s until Mr Cannon took on the role of secretary. He rejuvenated the annual ploughing match and was made honorary president of the society in 2006 and continued to write reports of the match for the local papers until his death. He was a regular exhibitor at the Wigtown Flower Show.

He loved sport so much he set up his own football team. Grange FC played in the local league for seven years, with all games organised by Mr Cannon. Restricted from playing football because of a bad leg, he then decided to form the Grange Carpet Bowling Club, so he could take part as well as organise. He used his ingenuity to find premises in a hay shed and set about converting it into a bowling alley.

He also served Kirkcowan Bowling Club from 1962 to his death; he was the first president of Newton Stewart Indoor Bowling Club and served it from 1982 until 1998. He was captain of the Wigtownshire Bowling Tour from 1982 to 1995 and involved with the Wigtownshire Bowling Association from 1995 to 2001.

Of all sports, his greatest love was curling. Learning the art from his father, he became a successful curler in his own right, winning top prizes at Stranraer Ice Rink.

It was his legendary organisational skills that were his forte. For more than 40 years he organised competitions in his area as well as attending meetings all over Scotland as a council member of the Royal Caledonian Curling club from 1980 to 1985.

He was secretary of Wigtown Curling Club for 40 years and the Galloway Province for nearly 50 years. In recognition of this outstanding service he was made an honorary president of both clubs. He was president of Stranraer Ice Rink in 1976/1977 and made an honorary president in 1995.

Always looking to the future, Mr Cannon knew his favourite game could only survive through encouraging the young, so he set up a young curlers club to teach and promote the game to the next generation.

His love of serving his community extended to the church. He was an active member of the congregation at Kirkcowan Parish Church for more than half a century and was its senior elder, faithfully attending, where his experience was invaluable to newcomers to the parish.

He was also an accomplished speech-maker and raconteur who liked nothing better than telling his audience a story.

To the many clubs and organisations he was involved with, he will be irreplaceable. During his life he put all available time and effort into carrying out his duties to the best of his ability, never seeking reward or praise. He always said it was a pleasure to serve his community and was understandably proud of the immaculate records he kept for all the organisations he was involved with.

He is survived by his wife Mona, daughter Sheila and sons Roy, Jim and Stuart, and his nine grandchildren.

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