Businessman and philanthropist

Born: March 5, 1932

Died: January 12, 2019

JOHN Fortune-Fraser, who has died aged 86, was one of Scotland’s most successful businessman and philanthropists who devoted much of his time to raising funds for children’s charities.

Married for 59 years to his late wife Tessa, he came from humble beginnings in Govan and left school at the age of 14. After stints as a plumber and working in the Clydeside shipyards, he eventually got an apprenticeship and serviced as a draughtsman in a steel yard in Glasgow. Moving into sales in the steel industry, his wicked sense of humour, strength of character and entrepreneurial spirit allowed him to climb through the ranks of his company, before venturing out on his own.

He set up Tube Developments Ltd in Kilsyth in 1965 and together with his wife, they built one of Europe’s largest steel stockholders, trading globally. Mr Fortune-Fraser travelled the world with Tessa to procure orders in Asia, UAE, USA and across Europe and was particularly proud of supplying the steel to multiple North Sea oil rigs, Navy frigates and international pipelines.

He played an active part in the local community and not only created a hugely successful business but was proud that he created a "Tube Developments family", employing local staff, many of whom were with the company for 40 years. He was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 with a MBE for his contribution to the local economy and his philanthropic endeavours.

In his later years, he dabbled in entertainment and property and amassed a significant portfolio, protesting that he would never retire.

He became one of Scotland’s leading industrialists and also served as treasurer to the Conservative Party’s Focus on Scotland initiative, working with several Prime Ministers including Baroness Thatcher, Sir John Major and David Cameron.

He lived for many years in Drymen and subsequently Killearn, Stirlingshire and devoted many years working for his beloved Variety Club of Great Britain, where he served as a chairman and committee member for over 25 years. He was passionate about raising money for the charity that raises funds for young people who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged and helped fund countless sunshine coaches and mobility aids for youth clubs, children’s hospitals and disability sports. He donated to countless other charities, often anonymously.

His larger-than-life personality, infectious laugh and great wit made him a unique Glaswegian character, with an incredible generosity of spirit who also loved to sing Frank Sinatra.

Utterly devoted to his late wife, he is survived by his five children Tessa, Fiona, Ian, Gregor and Stephen, grandchildren and great grandchildren.