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Tributes paid to Inverness builder and property developer Robert More following his death at age of 73

By Alasdair Fraser

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Robert Fraser More
Robert Fraser More

A well-known Inverness builder and property developer has passed away after a period of illness.

Robert Fraser More, best known to friends as Bob, died peacefully at Raigmore Hospital last Saturday, at the age of 73.

From the mid-1980s, the self-made businessman – previously a pipeline technology entrepreneur – grew the firm RF More (Properties) Ltd from humble beginnings, starting with small projects in and around Inverness.

Such was his success, he became a significant contributor to housing stock across the city and beyond, as well as realising a number of commercial property projects.

One of his more striking legacies is the attractive, pastel-coloured flats development at Cale House, in Millburn Road, opposite Morrisons supermarket. He also redeveloped the building to the right of the old Post Office in Queensgate, among other city centre projects. Further afield, he was responsible for purchasing a large burnt-out hotel in Wick, where he grew up, transforming it into the Riverside House Care Home.

RF More currently has a 101-dwelling housing proposal in the pipeline at Wester Inshes, south of West Park, the second phase of development at Inshes Farm.

Mr More is survived by wife Shona and daughters Leah and Cara, both from his previous marriage to the late Kathleen Jackson.

A dedicated family man, he is described as a hugely proud grandad to Chloe, Abi and Alexa.

He and Shona, also from Wick, met 24 years ago and married in Thailand in 2009.

Mrs More told how her husband left the Caithness area at the age of 16 and worked in Canada for two years before studying at Dudley College in the West Midlands.

He became an expert in industrial pipe inspection radiography, working all over England.

With two others, in his 20s, he founded an innovative pipeline inspection company called Ultratest NDT, later sold to a Swiss conglomerate.

With the firm, he became involved in the oil industry and was one of the very first people recruited at Nigg in the 1970s.

After Ultratest’s sale, he worked for the new owners for a year and then set up an ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’-style recruitment agency taking workers from the Highlands to employment in Germany and Holland.

Tiring of constant travel and missing his young family, he resettled in Inverness and began his building interests with father-in-law Jim Jackson before setting out on his own.

Mrs More said: “Bob was a clever man, very hard-working all his life, but someone who liked to mind his own business. He just strived for success, really.

“That’s what it was all about for him. He was a very kind man who looked after his family well. He was just so proud of them all and always wanted the very best for them.”

Mr More’s stepson Euan Mackay, a joiner, also worked for him for many years.

Veteran Highland journalist Bill Mowat knew Mr More well and admired his entrepreneurial drive and spirit.

He said: “Bob was a natural when it came to identifying potential projects and realising them. He was a clever man, a real Caithness entrepreneur, who then became a very significant player in numerous property projects in Inverness, also representing big businesses like Lidl and Tesco for various retail developments.”

Mr More lived in the Culduthel Road area of the city before moving to the current family home in Wester Inshes.

Inverness economist Tony Mackay became a Culduthel Road neighbour of Mr More’s in the 1980s and the two families’ children attended Inverness Royal Academy together.

Mr Mackay said: “We got to be very friendly. Much more recently, I would enjoy his company at River House Restaurant beside the Greig Street Bridge.

“He was very good at what he did, a sharp and driven entrepreneur, but away from his work he was a very dedicated, caring and well-loved family man.”

The funeral service will be held on May 30 at 2pm in the funeral home of William T Fraser and Son, Culduthel Road, Inverness.

Burial will be at Wick Cemetery the following day at 2pm.

All family and friends are invited to one or both services where donations will be accepted on behalf of the respiratory and renal units at Raigmore Hospital.

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