Gillies MacLaurin, solicitor, born November 30, 1920, died November 3, 2000

WILLIAM Gillies MacLaurin was a wonderful person (a description he would have hated), who will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Every aspect of his life - from his education to his service in the Army, his work as a solicitor, and in his family life was characterised by a strong sense of honour, commitment, and service - but all coloured by a unique sense of humour which made his company such a pleasure.

He was the second of four sons

of paper manufacturer Duncan MacLaurin (Smith & MacLaurin Limited) and Margaret Gillies. He was known as Gillies to all except one particularly hearty bank

manager who, without invitation, addressed him as Bill on first

meeting, an error which Gillies

ever after took quiet amusement in not correcting.

He was educated at Ardvreck and Glenalmond and thereafter was accepted for entry to Clare College, Cambridge. Shortly after, hostilities broke out and he enlisted on September 4, 1939, the day after war was declared. He joined the Royal Artillery and saw a great deal of active service including landing in Normandy D+6 and the heavy fighting around Caen. He was also among the first allied troops to enter a liberated Paris. Although he lost many comrades, he rarely talked about that side of the war, preferring to tell countless stories of his experiences of which he was often the butt. He recalled, for example, the time when he put on his hair what appeared from the bottle to be a German form of Brylcreem. It was only later when a downpour of rain sent soapsuds bubbling over his face that he realised that it was in fact shampoo.

At the end of the war Gillies spent a year in Chittagong as a staff officer and thereafter resumed his university education, obtaining his BA at Cambridge and his LLB at Glasgow.

After he qualified, his abilities and his connections made him a likely target for the big city firms, but that was not for Gillies. He preferred the freedom and comradeship of the smaller office, joining Burns Reid and Tilston which later became Tilston MacLaurin, where he remained as senior partner and then consultant until retirement. He had a fine legal brain, coupled with a concern for clients and a regard for doing the right thing which applied to every aspect of his life. He was possibly saddened towards the end of his years in practice that the standards which he regarded as absolute were not necessarily shared by those then coming into the profession.

For Gillies, morality was not conditional. He was held in the highest regard in his profession as was shown later in his career when he was approached to be Dean of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, a position he declined as he would not have felt comfortable in such a formal post. He did take up the appointment of Milngavie and Bearsden Burgh Prosecutor from 1962 to 1975, was governor of Westbourne School for many

years, and was director of the Baillie Institute from which he retired only two years ago.

As a partner and an employer he was unique. On April Fools' day no-one was safe and succeeding receptionists quickly discovered the troublesome client on the telephone was actually Mr MacLaurin with an assumed voice.

When he was dictating letters on a tape he would occasionally throw in a song to lighten matters. He installed in the office a miniature table-tennis table with foam-backed bats on which games were hotly disputed. On one occasion he and his two partners at that time decided a member of staff had to be sacked but no-one wanted to be the one to do it. They accordingly held a round robin tennis tournament among the three with the loser having to do the job. Unfortunately, the tournament ended in a three-way tie and the

girl stayed.

He took a keen interest in politics and was once an election agent for the Tory party. His actions, regularly those of the Good Samaritan, derived from his deep Christian faith on which his whole life was based. On the formal side he became, in 1956, an elder in

Bearsden South Parish Church, where he delighted in stirring

things up and he continued in office until his death.

He was a keen gardener but his main social activity was bridge, partnering his wife, Jan, at the

Western, Milngavie, and St Andrews bridge clubs.

In company, he loved to perform magic tricks but he was a conjurer of the Tommy Cooper school and no-one enjoyed it more than he when his tricks went wrong. He

was also an indefatigable teller of anecdotes of his experiences and

his undiminished pleasure in relating them added so much to his

listeners' enjoyment.

Gillies married Janet Hyde in 1945, meeting her in Eastbourne where she was based as a WAAF. With one of the stranger-than-

fiction coincidences so often

thrown up in the upheaval of war, the couple discovered they actually both lived in the same village of Bridge of Weir in Renfrewshire. They were married for 55 years

and had two daughters, Patricia

and Fiona, and latterly two

grandchildren, Duncan and Rosie. While Gillies had a successful

life he would have said that noth-

ing at all was of any importance

to him compared to the love and devotion he found in his home

life with Jan and their daughters

and grandchildren.

He was a tall man with a patrician bearing and people looked up to him in both senses.