Wallpaper executive and charity worker;

Wallpaper executive and charity worker;

Born: August 5, 1915; Died: November 21, 2014.

Harry Worsley, who has died aged 99, was a reluctant businessman who would rather have worked in medicine or the military than join a Lancashire mill. But family tragedy forced the teenager into the wallpaper industry and led to an enormously successful career that saw him vicariously decorate the walls of thousands of DIY enthusiasts and help to prevent the escape of Her Majesty's guests at Barlinnie.

Not content with retirement from such an eclectic working life, he then went on to become an author, fundraiser and an active hospice volunteer in his adoptive Glasgow for a quarter of a century.

Though born in Darwen, Lancashire, he always had an ambition to live in Scotland but it was not until he was 40 that he realised his dream.

The son of Daisy and Henry Worsley, he was educated at Darwen Grammar School while his father worked for the town's Crown wallpaper mill. His initial career choice had been to enter the medical profession but that was abandoned when his father died on a business trip to Northern Ireland. Young Harry was 12 and by the age of 16 he had had to start work at Crown to support his infirm mother.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, he volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps, moving to Oxford and then Iraq where he was based in a field hospital as part of the Persia and Iraq Force, or Paiforce. But while subsequently stationed in the Kuwaiti port of Shuaiba protecting oil supplies, he fell seriously ill with dysentery and hepatitis. After convalescing in a camp in Nathaniya in Palestine he was allowed leave and visited Damascus and the Holy Land, a trip that inspired him to write a short book about the city.

He loved army life and would have made a career of it had he not had to return to Darwen after the war to look after his mother.

He rejoined Crown in 1946 and by the 1950s had met his future wife, teacher Marion Ainsworth, at an amateur dramatic society. They married in July 1953. A couple of years later he was offered a sales position in Scotland and the opportunity to fulfil his ambition of living north of the border - a move he justified to Marion on the basis that Scottish education was of a high standard and Glasgow had some excellent schools.

They settled into life in Bishopbriggs where Mr Worsley, a former scout, became involved in the growing community as press officer of the 175th Glasgow Scout Group and later for other groups including Probus.

Bespectacled and always impeccably groomed, in collar and tie and tweed jacket, he was a man of integrity, with an old-fashioned courtesy, kindness and interest in others - attributes that led to him being asked on numerous occasions to do people favours.

One request came in the early 1960s from an Aberdeen client who kept a small boat at Balmaha on Loch Lomond. It was suggested that, to save it from becoming neglected, Mr Worsley and his young family use the vessel from time to time. That led to the loch becoming a favourite family haunt where his sons continue to keep a 24ft yacht.

They also fulfilled their father's pledge about the merits of a Scottish education, both completing their education at Hutchesons' Grammar School in the mid-1970s.

By that time Mr Worsley was Crown's regional manager and, according to his colleagues, "running Scotland operations in his capable pocket." Based originally in West George Street and then Dixon Blazes industrial estate, he sold the first wallpaper order to B&Q's predecessor, Dodge City - having had to work hard to persuade his senior management that such upstart retailers had a secure future.

He stayed at Crown until 1976 when he retired, only to start an agency business. It was while working for several paint and wallpaper companies that he sold Barlinnie Prison anti-climb paint.

After finally retiring from full-time work in the early 1980s, he continued to help others through voluntary work, receiving the Medal of Merit and Thanks Badge from the Scout Association and doing active volunteering work for Marie Cure Cancer Care at its hospice at Huntershill, Springburn.

He and Marion began volunteering after watching a recruitment advert on television. She served tea while he manned the switchboard in the evenings and later began befriending patients with no family, often holding their hand and providing comfort in the final stages of their illness.

In 1998, inspired by his visits to Balmaha, he wrote a book, Loch Lomond - The Loch, The Lairds, The Legends. In 2007 he arranged for it to be reprinted with royalties going to Marie Curie. That same year he was invited to London to receive a lifetime achievement award for fundraising. He also ran a Christmas quiz for many years right up until his early 90s, earning the charity nearly £40,000.

Nominated in 2009 for a Glasgow Community Champion Award, he said: "I've been volunteering so long now that I can't imagine life without Marie Curie."

As well as boundless compassion, he also had a well-honed sense of humour, often penning pithy letters to The Herald on subjects as diverse as cyclists, shopping and the Three Wise Men who, he suggested, had they been women, would have been happy asking for proper directions, arrived on time, cleaned out the stable and taken more practical gifts, such as nappies.

On cold callers, he advised readers: "Immediately I realise I am being 'sold' something I put on my most pleasing manner and say. 'I am sorry but I think you may have dialled the wrong number. We are not on the telephone.'"

At the age of 95 he featured in Ken Smith's diary in The Herald, demonstrating his wit was as sharp as ever. At the time Pakistan's Sindh province was in the headlines, having suffered terrible floods. The name reminded him of Sir Charles Napier's one-word telegraph to London after conquering the area for the British Raj. It read "Peccavi" - Latin for "I have sinned".

Mr Worsley is survived by sons Richard and Mark, and grandchildren Calum, who is fulfilling his grandfather's medical ambition by studying medicine at Cambridge, Hannah and Charlie.