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Tributes to Inverness Royal Academy teacher who died

By Louise Glen

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Doug Morrison.
Doug Morrison.

AN Inverness teacher who inspired dozens of young people on a trip of a lifetime to The Gambia, has died.

Doug Morrison (70) was instrumental in taking pupils in their final year of school to work on projects in the African country.

Mr Morrison, who helped keep spirits up with jolly messages on Facebook during the pandemic, died last month after a short period of ill health.

His wife Sonia described her husband of 37 years as an adventurer and said he was an experienced walker who loved to encourage others.

Mrs Morrison said: “Doug was an adventurer – he loved going places and experiencing new things, but he also had a great love of Scotland and loved being outdoors.”

She said her husband did not want the life-changing expeditions he organised to The Gambia to be for only the families who could afford it.

“He wanted as many children from every background to be part of the trip – as he knew how much it would mean to them,” she said.

“He knew the trips could change lives. And they were not a holiday, they were working hard to support people and students in the countries they went to.”

Since his retirement in 2011 he had volunteered in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Botswana, and climbed all over Europe as well as walking some of the most iconic walks in Scotland and abroad.

Mrs Morrison said: “He didn’t have great health this year and he passed away.”

Nigel Engstrand, rector of Inverness Royal Academy, where Mr Morrison taught for 35 years, said: “Doug retired around 2011 and spent all his teaching career here at the royal academy.

“Doug initially was an English teacher, working between the old Midmills site and the new building when he first arrived, and later, when computers came in, retraining as a computing teacher – one of the very few in the computing world of the day who weren’t from a maths or science background.”

Mr Engstrand continued: “Foreign trips were his special interest. He and Alistair MacIntosh set up and organised the link with The Gambia, a link which continued over a good number of years. In The Gambia, we were involved in a project to set up and support skills centres in order to enable disadvantaged youngsters to access education and training.

“Every year at Easter a group of staff and S6 pupils would travel out for a fortnight.

“Nobody who took part in those trips will ever forget the experiences there. In addition to the Gambia projects, Doug and Tosh organised and ran World Challenge expeditions to some of the less well known parts of the world – Botswana, Borneo, Zambia and Madagascar.

“A challenge in every way, but again life-changing for those who took part.

“Our condolences go to Doug’s family.”

Maria de la Torre, chairwoman of Lochardil and Drummond Community Council, said: “Doug motivated others through his dedication and enthusiasm. He was very much the face of the community council’s social pages, keeping the community informed throughout the recent lockdown period, also demonstrating a rare and appropriate humour in the face of common difficulty. Doug was an asset to the community, our condolences go to Doug’s family.”

As well as his wife, Mr Morrison is survived by two daughters, Joanna and Sarah, and one grandchild.

His funeral took place on Friday.

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