View Full Version : Colin Mackay: an obituary

10-May-11, 09:11
Colin Mackay, a man o’ many pairts

FRIENDS and relatives crowded into Canisbay Church, recently, to say a fond farewell to Colin Mackay.
They heard locum minister Lyall Rennie trace the life of Mr Mackay, who died at Riverside Nursing Home, in Wick, on April 29.
He was born at Reaster, on December 11, 1932, but the family subsequently moved to Lower Gills. Mr Mackay was educated at Canisbay School, and, on leaving, took up his first job at the foundry in Thurso.
When it closed, he obtained employment as a farm servant for a short time before flitting across the Pentland Firth to Longhope, where he worked on road maintenance, for a spell.
It was there, Mr Rennie told his congregation, that Mr Mackay became interested in the local lifeboat. Although his cousins were members of the crew, he never joined them on board. Nevertheless, on land, he forged “a strong attachment” with the service and he compiled a comprehensive history of the station.
Later, Mr Mackay returned to the mainland and farm work, at Phillips Mains, and subsequently worked on the Glen Morriston hydro scheme, before coming back to Caithness where he became a driver for James Simpson. During his time there, he met and married his late wife, Margaret, in 1962.
His final employment was at the Dounreay Atomic Station and he remained there, until his retirement in 1994, but it wasn’t a cue for putting his feet up.
In his personal life, Mr Mackay had a wide range of hobbies and interests including pipe music and Highland dancing. He was a member of Canisbay Rifle Club and Mr Rennie commented, that, by all accounts, “Colin was a pretty good shot”.
He was a staunch member of the local Labour Party and was involved in organising the dinner dances at the Seaview Hotel, John o’ Groats, where one of the guests was Jim Callaghan, who subsequently became Prime Minister. Photography, DIY, peat cutting, and collecting antiques, and enjoying a good blether..there was certainly never a dull moment in Mr Mackay’s life.
Mr Rennie said: “These are some of the precious memories in which he will be remembered by family and friends.”
He added: “Colin was well known in Canisbay and Caithness and the surrounding area. The high regard in which he was held, is borne out by the attendance here, today.”
Mourners, including John Budge, from the Longhope lifeboat station, followed the cortege a few yards to the Canisbay churchyard, where Mr Mackay was laid to rest.