Lisa Wishart

Born: November 8, 1965;

Died: January 7, 2023.

LISA Wishart, who has died aged 57, was a talented, dedicated and popular figure in the hospitality industry who led one of the most successful pub groups in the west of Scotland. She was a strong campaigner who stood up for the trade on a range of major issues, renowned for the support she gave colleagues and friends, and won praise for steering the company through the pandemic.

As the managing director of Lisini Pub Company, which can trace its roots back to 1969, Lisa oversaw a portfolio of popular venues across Glasgow and Lanarkshire, including Angels in Uddingston, Dalziel Park in Motherwell and the Parkville in Blantyre.

Lisini, which employs 250 people, was established by Harry and Kathleen Hood, Lisa’s parents, who opened their first pub when Harry was in the midst of a football career that included a spell with Celtic.

Harry and Kathleen named the business after their three children, Lisa, Siobhan, and Nicholas, and in time the siblings would play key roles as Lisini expanded.

But it was by no means preordained that Lisa would go into the hospitality industry. In fact, she initially followed her father’s footsteps into the world of sport. She obtained a Batchelor of Education from Dunfermline College of Physical Education and began her career as a PE teacher at Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. While her father excelled at football, Ms Wishart shone at another sport, and represented Scotland at hockey.

Fate intervened and an injury to her knee caused her to step back from PE. She joined the family business in 1992, and in the three decades that followed, built a reputation as a respected operator and ambassador for the industry.

Like her father her, Lisa spoke with conviction about the challenges facing the industry and was unafraid to tackle difficult subjects. When the pandemic struck, she worked tirelessly to ensure the business survived and people would have jobs to return to when restrictions eased.

Susan Young, a friend and editor of The Dram, said: “Lisa had a real passion for the industry. She had a work ethic which helped her drive the business forward and turned it into one of the most successful hospitality businesses in Scotland. For her it was not all about profit – her focus was on people – the people that worked for the business, her customers, and suppliers.

“She was also a social animal who liked nothing better than to get together with friends at a lunch, particularly if it was for a good cause. Over the years she supported various charities – and even raised funds for MacMillan Cancer Support with a marathon cycle ride. She was also a past director of the BEN, the licensed trade charity.”

Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said he was “very thankful” to have Lisa as a founding member and to have been able to tap into the wisdom of such a lively operator.

He said her passing was “not just devastating for everyone within our own group, but everyone across hospitality in Scotland.”

Mr Montgomery said: “The industry has lost a hospitality dame. She was an inspiration to us all.”

Ms Wishart is survived by husband Keith, son Jamie, mother Kathleen, sister Siobhan Edwards, and brother Nicholas Hood.