Alec MacCaig (FS 42-46).
Alec’s daughter Helen has sent the eulogy delivered at his funeral:
“Thank you all for coming. It’s lovely to see so many faces. We know that my father Alec would have been touched to see you all here from the different stages of his life.
My father’s story starts here in Hale, just around the corner, in Park Road. He was born in 1928 to Gladys and Alexander, elder brother to John. He started his education across the road at Wadham House, but at the age of 13 he caught the train to St Bees School, where he spent five formative and happy years on the north west coast of Cumbria. It was wartime and he was in a remote spot in relative safety. He always told us that it was a tough, disciplined environment where cold showers were the norm and he was beaten for, amongst other things, throwing water bombs in the corridor. But he thrived in this demanding environment, becoming Headboy and captain of golf.
The strong bond that he built with the school continued to the present day. He joined the old St Beghian Society and played for the school in the Halford Hewitt Golf Tournament for seven decades from the 1940s onwards. In later years when he was no longer playing in the tournament itself, he crossed the country to support the younger generation, demonstrating his passion, loyalty and commitment to the things he cared deeply about. He became President of the Old St Beghian Society and felt honoured to have been asked in 2008 to open the new golf academy at the school.
In 1946 he went to Manchester University to study Mechanical Engineering, but continued to pursue his passion for golf at Hale Golf Club, where he triumphed with his brother in winning the Galloway Cup on a number of occasions, as well as winning the Captain’s Prize.
Between 1949-51 he was in national service in the Royal, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and following this he began his engineering career as an apprentice with Parkins and Cowan in London where he worked from 1951-54.
He then moved to Bristol in 1957 to set up in partnership with Derek Wilson, together creating JD Wilson Consulting Engineers. He joined Bristol Hockey Club where he first met his beloved Mary playing mixed hockey on a Sunday morning. He admired her in the distance and engineered an introduction from her brothers Peter and Hugh. Within six months they were married and were together for 59 happy years, enjoying together the joys of a wonderfully successful union.
Over the next six years my mother and father had three daughters, myself, Sue and Anne. We have so many happy family memories. Our hardworking father would often take us to the office at the weekend to give Mary a break. Here we would pretend to be secretaries ringing each other on the internal phones and typing notes. He took us on many wonderful holidays to Crackington Haven in North Cornwall where we stayed in a cottage overlooking the sea and spent endless hours playing highly competitive French cricket on the sands.
Then there were the caravan holidays to Scotland where he was keen to trace our Scottish family roots. His patience was tested to the limit with four women and a dog as we got stuck on hills, reversed into petrol pumps (having relied on his daughters to guide his parking efforts), and forgot to remove the lid of the chemical toilet. As we became teenagers, his patience was further tested. He would sit uncomplainingly outside nightclubs desperately hoping that the girls would not come out and ask for yet another hour’s extension to the going home time that had been agreed. He rarely got home either comfortably or on time!
Alec revelled in his family and in bringing up his three daughters with our mum, - something they both shared and took great pleasure in. He encouraged us to spread our wings, guiding us into various careers. The family grew and flourished as we became adults and new members arrived. The sudden loss of our sister, Sue in 1996 affected him, and all the family, very deeply.
He shared a keen interest in all of the additions to the new generation as they arrived, grew and thrived. He encouraged family games of hockey on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. He ran and judged the grand-childrens’ art competition, ensuring everyone succeeded by creating a winner in every age category. He travelled the country supporting their activities including netball tournaments, rugby matches and Christmas shows.
Together with our mother, the two of them enjoyed many walks at Clevedon, supporting Bristol Rugby Club.
There are many people here who wanted to say goodbye. All of us have different memories but a common love for a great man, a great father, a great husband and a great grandfather; who was loyal, patient, and a true gentleman; who was kind and interested in everyone; and who was utterly committed to his loved ones and all he valued. He was quick to smile, encourage, appreciate and praise; and slow to criticise, or scold.
We will all remember him forever with love and affection.”
(Helen would especially like to thank all those OSBs who made the long journey to the funeral –Ed.)