Hugh Murray,

Born: February 19, 1935;

Died: June 9, 2023

Dr Hugh Murray, who has died aged 88, was a well-known Scottish and British international athlete whose principal event was the hop, step and jump, which would become better known as the triple jump. He represented Scotland in the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff where despite a sub-par performance by his own standards enjoyed a memorable experience.

Shortly afterwards he compensated by excelling for Great Britain in the match against the Commonwealth leaping 48’ 2”, one of his best ever marks, to finish third as first Briton and also placed first Briton in the international later that year against France.

Scottish champion three times, he also claimed Scottish Universities titles as well as Army and Inter Services ones and represented the Army competitively.

He broke the Scottish record for the event but that was not recognised initially due to a rule then requiring the athlete to be Scottish born. After making representations, the rule was changed to allow Scottish parentage and his record could be accepted.

Away from the athletics arena he was an empathetic, highly regarded GP with Edinburgh University Students Health Centre for almost 30 years and lived a full and varied life.

Hugh Miller Murray was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, the second of four children to William and Elizabeth. His elder brother was Douglas, and Margaret and Alison his younger sisters. William was a chest physician in a tuberculosis sanatorium, a widespread condition then and Hugh grew up initially in nearby Abergele. In 1939 the family moved to New Cumnock in Ayrshire where his father was appointed superintendent of the sanatorium and Hugh began school at the local primary.

In 1945 the family moved to East Lothian where William took up another tuberculosis-related appointment at East Fortune Hospital, at which point Hugh started attending Dollar Academy as a boarder.

He was a bright pupil, attaining six Highers by age 16 and a year later recording his first significant athletics achievement, finishing third at triple jump in the Scottish Schools Championships. Winner that day and future rival was Tom McNab, later a multi-talented figure and worldwide athletics authority well known for his involvement in the film Chariots of Fire. He recalled Hugh warmly as “a first class chap who was a very gifted natural athlete.”

After leaving school where he had been drum major in the pipe band, he began studying medicine at Edinburgh University where his athletics career gathered momentum as he placed third at the Scottish Championships in 1954. Over the next nine years he won the title three times and was twice runner-up. He represented Scotland in internationals three times against Ireland and Wales, winning each time.

In 1957 he demonstrated versatility, winning bronze at javelin throw in the Scottish Championships while in 1971 he staged a brief jumping comeback to compete in the Scottish Championships, finishing two places in the annual ranking list above a certain young triple jumper, Allan Wells.

Hugh captained the university athletics team, was awarded a Blue and in his final year was appointed to the prestigious post of president of the Students’ Union , liaising on occasions with the chancellor, the Duke of Edinburgh and rector, actor James Robertson Justice.

After graduating he was called up for national service in the RAMC, served with 3 Parachute Regiment in the UK, Aden and Germany where he parachuted over the Kiel Canal, once wryly recalling that “medics jumped first to be on the ground to deal with any casualties”.

Once national service was completed, he landed what might be considered a plum post as personal physician to General Robert Johnson II on a two-year, round-the-world yachting cruise. Johnson was president of famous healthcare company Johnson and Johnson and engaged a small staff to accompany him, with visits to Tahiti and South Africa being among the standouts.

Following that, Hugh took up an appointment as GP in Saskatchewan, Canada, through a combination of a spirit of adventure and the need for doctors there.

When back in Edinburgh on holiday in 1967 he met Janice Russell, a physiotherapist who shared a flat with his sister Alison and a year later they married in West Linton, going on to enjoy a long happy marriage during which they had children Jean and Alastair and lived mostly in the Fairmilehead area.

In 1970 Hugh joined the University Health Service as GP, where he continued till retirement in 1998. Apart from family and practice, he enjoyed a range of activities and interests. His sporting enthusiasm continued and he was a regular attender at Murrayfield for internationals and in 1986 was appointed doctor for the athletes’ village at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh when meeting Daley Thompson was one highlight.

He was a keen curler with the West Linton club and for the BMA; he also played golf at Baberton and Luffness. A lover of the great outdoors since his days at Dollar, he and Janice succeeded in completing all the Munros. Another long-term interest was literature, especially poetry which he also wrote and had some published.

He is survived by his wife, children, sisters and grandchildren David, Robbie, John and Anna.