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OBITUARY: Retired businessman Sandy MacRae who was a skilled signwriter and decorator whose funeral in Nairn Old Parish Church

By Donald Wilson

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Nairn businessman and golf club Captain Sandy MacRae.
Nairn businessman and golf club Captain Sandy MacRae.

A skilled signwriter and decorator who left his mark on many shop fronts and church restoration projects has passed away after a long illness.

There was a large turnout at the funeral in Nairn Old Parish Church of retired local businessman Sandy MacRae who was a past Captain and President of Nairn Dunbar Golf Club.

Sandy (87) was also a familiar figure to visitors to the course as official competition starter where he would meet competitors stepping on to the first tee.

Former Convener of Highland Council Sandy Park was among those to pay tribute to Sandy who he described as a gentleman to everyone and a true ambassador for the game.

Sandy began his apprenticeship in 1950 as a decorator with William and Daniel Duggie and displayed a talent for signwriting which he had a passion for and used to great effect on shop premises throughout the town centre and vans of local businesses.

In 1955 he began his national service in the RAF and spent a year with Hertfordshire police before returning to his trade in Nairn, He was planning to emigrate to Australia but fate intervened. He met his wife Moira, married in 1960 and they made their home in Nairn and he started his own business in 1965 which he ran for 35 years employing many local men and apprentices.

His signwriting craftsmanship still adorns the front of Nairn Old Parish Church.

If churches were in need of redecoration DA MacRae was the first port of call and in total Sandy oversaw the redecoration of numerous churches in Nairn and Inverness during his career.

Mr Park said: "Sandy was actively involved in the transition of the club between 1994 and 1999 in the lead up to its centenary which involved the opening of new holes and the building of a new clubhouse.

"He was a real gentleman and the wider community of Nairn has lost a great servant and friend."

As well as his skills in his profession Sandy was also an accomplished singer, a passion he shared with Moira, his wife of 62 years, and he took on many lead roles with Nairn Amateur Light Opera Society.

Present Captain of Nairn Dunbar Shaun Smith said members were deeply saddened to learn of Sandy's passing.

"He was a great ambassador for Nairn Dunbar and always made the time to speak with everyone. His dedication to the club, as Captain and latterly as President, helped lay foundations which have and will continue to shape our club long into the future.

"Sandy was a most diligent President and carried out this role with distinction to the benefit of all members of the Club. He also provided wise counsel and great support to myself and my predecessors as Captain and to our club managers and staff.

"He was a lovely man and simply a gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be greatly missed by all members and employees."

As well as his wife, Sandy is survived by his daughter Alyson , son-in-law Denis and three grandsons, Ryan, Grant and Jack.

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