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Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron, newspaper editor; born April 24, 1910, died January 14, 2001 Alan Cameron of the Oban Times was a legendary figure among weekly newspaper editors in Scotland.

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He had trained as a journalist on the old Glasgow Herald, but on his return from war service with the Cameron Highlanders he joined the editorial staff of the Oban Times, which was then owned by his family and edited by an aunt, Flora Macaulay. When he succeeded to the editorship, he demonstrated a great commitment to the paper and helped bring its production methods up to date. One thing he did not change, however, was the paper's determination to represent the interests of its readers, who were to be found in a vast geographical area stretching up and down the west coast of Scotland. Under his long-term leadership the Oban Times was as highly regarded in its area as the London Times was in its metropolitan setting. He regarded his own publication as being metropolitan in its outlook, maintaining a network of correspondents who chronicled the activities of those Gaels who had migrated to the cities. The doings of the various clan and Highland societies in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London were meticulously reported week by week. In his own area the paper was a bible. If an event was not reported there, there would be real doubts as to whether it had occurred at all. Alan also promoted an international element to the newspaper's coverage with frequent visits abroad to visit the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in action. He reported personally on the regiment's operations in Malaya, Borneo, and Aden. His own army service started in the Scots Guards, but he took great delight in achieving a transfer to the Cameron Highlanders. In addition to his Oban Times interests, Alan was a director of the family firm McNiven and Cameron, which latterly was re-named Waverley Cameron plc. That firm produced a popular range of stationery products and also the famous Waverley pen nibs with which generations of Scots learned to write at school. Despite his commitment to the newspaper world, Alan oversaw the sale of the Oban Times to the Johnston newspaper publishing group in 1976. His decision was in part prompted by an accident when he fell from the roof of his house, sustaining back injuries. He made a recovery but took the view that there were other things he wanted to do, including world travel. Weeks before his death he had been on holiday in Greece. Alan was not a particularly religious person, but was, over the years, a supporter of most of the churches in Oban. He had a wide range of friends, including senior executives of the Johnston group which had purchased the Oban Times business. Those friendships flourished in the years after the conclusion of the sale of the Oban Times, and continued even after the paper was sold on again into private ownership. He was an enthusiastic and accomplished amateur cook who loved entertaining guests in his home, Carding Mill, in Oban. A regular dinner guest during any visit to the diocese was the Roman Catholic Cardinal Gordon Gray. They had met in Rome when Alan was on holiday with his first wife, Gerry, and the friendship flourished. Gerry was a Catholic, and the clergy from Oban Cathedral were always welcome at the Cameron home. After Gerry's death, Alan, then in his eighties, married an old friend, Mairi Chalmers, whose family operated a tweed warehouse in Oban. A private burial will take place tomorrow.

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