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Robert Crawford

Village activist and campaigner

Village activist and campaigner

Born: September 6, 1925; Died: February 18, 2014

Robert (Bob) Crawford, who has died aged 88, was a lifelong resident of the village of Carmunnock on the south side of Glasgow and played a major role in preserving its historic Glebe as an open space for future generations when it was threatened with development in the 1960s and in achieving Carmunnock's conservation village status.

He was deeply involved in all aspects of village life. There was often a knock at the door late in the evening, a hurried conversation which concluded that something needed to be done, followed by a succession of meetings in the front room in a haze of cigarette smoke until matters were sorted out. He was at various times chairman of the Carmunnock Ratepayers' Association and Carmunnock Preservation Society among others.

Although he was a village boy through and through, he was in fact born in Ascog Street in Govanhill, where his father Charles was a teacher. He had an elder brother, Tom, who died of disease during the Second World War whilst serving with the Royal Artillery. Tom is buried with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone in the family grave next to his parents in the now sadly derelict graveyard at Netherton in Castlemilk.

He attended Carmunnock Primary School as both his father and son did. He then went on to secondary school at Queen's Park School in Mount Florida, where he eventually became head boy - not appointed by the staff, as he always used to remind folk with a smile on his face, but elected by his fellow pupils.

When he left school, it was still wartime, and having done a bit in the Home Guard beforehand, he like, many others of the same age, was called up for national service and sent for basic infantry training to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire, arriving on the station platform to be greeted by the newspaper hoardings announcing Japan's surrender.

After six weeks of square bashing, he was called into his company commander's office and sent off for officer training at Sandhurst, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed and spoke fondly of for many years. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt into the Highland Light Infantry and spent the remainder of his national service in Rafah in Palestine (now in the Gaza Strip).

After being demobbed, he enrolled at Glasgow University to undertake a social sciences course, and on day one he met his future wife, Hazel Hawthorne. Exactly two years after they first met, on October 4, 1950, they were married at Wardlaw Hill Church in Rutherglen.

After a few years of married life in Rutherglen and East Kilbride, he returned with his family, which had grown with the arrival of two children, Stuart and Hazel Ann, to Carmunnock and moved into the house at 2 Woodside Gardens, designed by Hazel, and there the family spent more than 50 happy years.

He worked as a personnel manager for most of his working life and was employed by a number of companies, including Hoover, Rolls Royce, the Empire Aluminium Company, Rank Hovis Macdougall, Allied Bakeries, the Daily Record, and lastly Loganair. He eventually retired at the age of 66½, having particularly enjoyed working with the airline which had given him the opportunity to fly around the Scottish islands whilst pursuing his duties.

He had many talents, as did many of his generation who sometimes appeared to be good at almost everything. As a younger man he was, by all accounts, a good footballer; asked once, in the knowledge that he was a good golfer, whether he had been better at golf or football, and he replied "football", and he played for many years with the Carmunnock Amateurs. He was also musical and could play almost any instrument by ear, but the violin was his best instrument, although he always used to say he was only asked to play publicly at the end of an event to ensure a speedy clearance of the venue.

Family aside, his lifelong love was golf. He had joined Cathkin Braes Golf Club at the age of 12 and remained a member of the rest of his life. He played for the team for many years - at one point he was playing off a handicap of three - and won a number of the club's medal competitions over the years. He was elected club captain and eventually made honorary president for life, a position which he deemed a great honour.

He was a fully committed member of the club all his years, a committee member, and a forceful advocate of maintaining standards of behaviour and dress in the clubhouse. He was never club champion, although he played in the final at least once.

Hazel died in December 2005 and Bob spent the remainder of his life initially in the family home in Carmunnock and latterly in the Erskine Home for ex-servicemen in Bishopton, where he was expertly and kindly cared for by the staff. He was visited often by his friends there, but he succumbed to dementia in the last years of his life which severely restricted his activity and interaction with his friends and family.

He had so many talents and attributes - he was intelligent, thoughtful, musical, funny, a great golfer, a leader and so much else. Perhaps the words of others sum him up best; once, long ago, he was described as the most popular man in the west of Scotland; more recently one of his friends said he was quite simply the nicest man she had ever met.

He is survived by his son Stuart and daughter Hazel Ann, and six grandchildren, Jamie, Mark, Francesca, India, Hector and Millicent.

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