Ascott

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Archie Scott (S 32-37), who died in Inverness on Friday 1st November 2019, aged 101. Please see below obituary written for the OS Club by his son, Alastair Scott (S 67-72). 

ANDREW A. S. SCOTT (S. 1932-37)

‘Archie’ Scott did not look a few months short of 102 and neither did he ever act his age. He climbed his last Munro (Ben More, Mull) at the age of 85. He distilled illicit bottles of whisky at 92 and passed his Advanced Driving Test later the same year – the oldest person in the UK ever to do so. For over a century he walked without a stick, was still fishing at 101 and drove his car up to six weeks before his death on 1st November in Inverness. Throughout his life he ranked his Sedbergh years as among his happiest – excluding the time spent in classrooms! – for nurturing his love of sport and honing his skills.

Known as Andrew till the age of two and ever after as ‘Archie’, he was born in Edinburgh in 1918 with rugby in his genes. His father was the revered JMB Scott – twenty-one caps for Scotland between 1907-1913 – and on his mother’s side was Uncle Fred, FH Turner, whose fifteen caps included captaining Scotland five times. (This is the FH Turner who, along with his friend Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, featured so prominently in the school’s recent commemoration of those killed in WW1). Archie entered Sedgwick House in 1932, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Jock, his father and two uncles (the other being Fred’s brother, WS Turner, also a noted sportsman, also killed in the war).

Archie Scott Making A Clean Break V Amopleforth Buskholme 1937
Archie Scott Making A Clean Break vs Ampleforth, Buskholme 1937

Fast and nippy on the rugby pitch, Archie played scrum-half or centre with equal ease and was in the first XV for two years. So determined was he to captain the team that he stayed on an extra term for this sole reason, only to find the previous season’s captain had changed his mind and decided to stay on too! Nevertheless he enjoyed the season which culminated in his selection for the Scottish Schoolboys XV. In cricket he excelled with the bat, regularly being top scorer, and applied himself to fielding with rapacious dedication. He always credited the cricket master at the time, JM Coldham, for providing him with a solid foundation on which he was able to develop his techniques. His good eye-hand coordination also served him well as captain of fives and squash.

Had WW2 not intervened he might have had the opportunity to represent his country more often but as it was, he very nearly lost out on his only cricketing cap. One evening in 1946 he received a phone call from the secretary of the Wayfarer’s Cricket Club (Edinburgh) which he knew was about to embark on a lengthy tour of Ireland. He was told he’d been selected to play but he felt he couldn’t ask his employer for more time off and declined. Over lunch the following day he picked up the Evening News and read the names of the Scottish XI chosen to play Ireland in Cork; his was one of them. It transpired that the Wayfarer’s secretary was also the selector of the national side. Too late, he’d turned down his chance to play for his country! After a panicked phone call of explanation – and his replacement magnanimously standing down – he joined the team, hitting three fours (third highest score) in a match that was drawn. He continued playing cricket for minor clubs well into his middle years.

He served as a gunner in WW2 and took part in eleven named battles, narrowly escaping death on two occasions; from shrapnel which killed two companions, and a schu-mine whose lid was only marginally depressed by his foot landing on the hinge. After the war he married and worked for Scottish Malt Distillers (now Diageo) for forty-three years, latterly as a director in charge of Safety and Housing. In his long retirement he enjoyed family, fishing, hill walking and driving. His wife, Anne, predeceased him by four months after sixty-seven years of marriage. Their combined ages came to three months short of 200 years. He is survived by his daughter, Jane, son Alastair (S. 1966-72), grand- and great-grand children. All his life he remained a staunch supporter of Sedbergh and the school appeals.

I can see him yet, on a walk, unaware I’m looking, taking up his stick which he occasionally carried but seldom used other than as now, executing his trademark square cut and dispatching an imaginary ball to a distant boundary; one of the few boundaries he recognised.

Please use this link to read a further obituary also written by his son, Alastair,