Sunday 5th January 2020

Solicitor, Football Club Chairman and Golf Administrator

Born December 26, 1927, in Erskine, Renfrewshire
Died December 10 in Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire

Douglas Story Dalgleish, who has died peacefully aged 91, was a well known Glasgow Solicitor, a past President of the Scottish Golf Union, and a former Chairman of Dumbarton Football Club.

Douglas’s father was Superintendent of Parks for Dalmuir Council, and Douglas was brought up in the gate house of the Old Dalnottar Cemetery. He attended primary school in Gavinburn, continuing on to what was referred to as Clydebank High School at Dumbarton Academy, Clydebank High School itself having been closed due to the war. During his school years he was active in the Boys Brigade serving as an officer, and playing for their football team. In March 1941 as a teenager he experienced the wartime blitz in Clydebank.

After school he began university but it was cut short when he was called up for National Service, serving two years with the RAF in Cornwall. Returning to Glasgow University, he graduated with an MA and later an LLB, before starting an apprenticeship with the law firm of Baird, Smith, Barclay & Muirhead. Once qualified he joined Brunton, Miller, Alexander & Martin (later abbreviated to Brunton Miller), the firm he stayed with for the rest of his life, serving as Senior Partner for most of those years.

His amateur football continued, playing for Clydebank High School FPs, and then Babcock & Wilcox with whom he won a Renfrewshire Cup Medal.

In 1951 Douglas met May McWilliams, a primary school teacher from Dalmuir, at Old Kilpatrick Tennis Club. They married in 1956, and sons Colin and Gordon were born in 1960 and 1962 respectively.

The family moved to Helensburgh in 1965 around the time the Erskine Bridge was being built directly over Old Kilpatrick. The new family home, a home Douglas and May were to live in for a full 50 years, was across the street from Helensburgh Golf Club. Douglas signed the family up for golf lessons. May went on to become the ladies club champion, and the boys immersed themselves in the game. Douglas’s strengths were on the administrative side. He was one of the game’s great enthusiasts. He created the highly regarded Helensburgh Boys Tournament and ran it for a number of years. Douglas was very involved in the running and sponsoring of the club’s annual festival of golf and club winter league, and wrote the golf club column for many years which appeared weekly in the Helensburgh Advertiser. He served on the committee, and was Captain and also Chairman of the Club. He was instrumental in the club buying the golf course from its landowners Luss Estates in 1978, and later pivotal in introducing equality of membership for ladies at the club in a move well ahead of most clubs at that time.

He was President of the Dumbartonshire Golf Union, served on the executive of the Scottish Golf Union and was elected President of that body in 1994. During his year in office he travelled extensively around Scotland and Europe, and also attended the Masters Tournament at Augusta Georgia.

Douglas was a proud supporter of his sons Colin and Gordon, and other members of Helensburgh Golf Club when they competed in events around Scotland and further afield. A highlight was being able to watch Colin compete in the 1981 Walker Cup at Cypress Point California, and also to support him at Royal County Down in 2007 when Colin captained the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup Team against the USA in that year’s star studded match.

Douglas was an after dinner speaker of considerable renown, speaking at various events over a long career. Any fees earned were donated to Guide Dogs for the Blind, he and May having rehomed a guide dog called Kenny … a dog who instantly became famous as Kenny Dalgleish.

Douglas was also an in-demand regular on the “Burns Circuit”, and spent many an evening in January and February giving his own take on The Bard’s work, at clubs around the west of Scotland. He was a lifelong Dumbarton Football Club supporter, and served as Chairman of the club from 1996 until 2003. During his tenure, the club made the move from the old stadium at Boghead to their brand new facility in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock.

He was an enthusiastic curler, an active member and secretary of Duntocher Curling Club. He was very involved in bringing the 1985 Silver Broom World Curling Championships to the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, and served as Joint Chairman of the Organising Committee for that event.

In the legal world, Douglas was a specialist in the licensing laws for public houses, clubs, and restaurants, with his advice highly valued. He had a knack of combining an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, along with his own brand of humour in representing his clients very effectively in front of licensing boards around the country. He also loved guiding local Helensburgh businesses on licensing matters and it gave him great satisfaction to see them succeed. He had a few celebrity clients including Billy Connolly. On one occasion Douglas bumped into Billy in the baggage hall at Gatwick Airport, and as they split up The Big Yin turned and joked “Hey Dougie, do I still owe you money?”

He was proud of the success his sons made of their golf travel business PerryGolf, a business he helped them start in 1984 and of which he remained a director throughout his lifetime.

Douglas’s funeral took place at Cardross Crematorium on Saturday December 14th . His was a long, adventurous and fulfilled life.

Douglas is survived by wife May, sons Colin and Gordon, daughter-in-laws Anne and Marion, and grandson Sterling.

Bill Heaney

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