Born: April 26, 1936; Died: October 15, 2012.
Our friend Graham Carson has died at the age of 76 after a bout of pneumonia. Born in Glasgow, he attended Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, where he loved to challenge authority and prided himself on being the most beaten boy in the school. He did, however, develop a passion for singing which lasted all his life.
Two years of national service in the Royal Air Force followed. He was a pilot officer which, no doubt, gave him a passion for driving his beloved cars (he was a member of the Institute of Advanced Motoring for over 50 years) and in his earlier days, motorbikes.
He entered his father's food-importing business in Glasgow and then branched out on his own, with a rice mill in the city before the business moved to Motherwell, and a cash and carry business among other ventures in Perth and Elgin. His main business was a food distribution firm in Kirkcaldy. He met his wife Buffy, whom he married in 1959, and they had three children.
Buffy nobly supported him in his quest to find and restore a castle, which he finally purchased on the edge of Gatehouse of Fleet. His great-grandfather had been a farmer in Wigtownshire so it was appropriate that in 1972 he should come to Galloway to buy a ruined tower house, Rusco, which had been built in 1494 by Baron Carson.
They spent seven years renovating the building. His meticulous restoration earned him a Saltire Society Award. When it was finished, in 1979, the family moved from Glasgow to live there and stayed for about 30 years. Six years ago, Graham and Buffy moved out and their son Ian now lives in the house.
Graham never lost his passion for restoration. He bought the old Tannery buildings in Gatehouse and converted them into a shop and kilt makers. He designed his own Carson tartan and always wore his kilt or the tartan trews he made himself.
He was interested in sports, from shooting and fishing to golf and tennis, and was a generous supporter and president of the Galloway Cricket Club.
He and Buffy loved travel, from Australia, where they had family connections and friends, to America, around the Mediterranean and to Greece where their daughter's parents-in-law lived.
A card-carrying Liberal Democrat, he was good fun, meticulous to the point of distraction to his family, a true gentleman and a friend who will be sorely missed.
He is survived by Buffy, children Ian, Maureen and Sheila, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.