No-one quite like Nor­man Ma­cLean

Argyllshire Advertiser - - LETTERS -

EN­TER­TAINER Nor­man Ma­cLean died on Thurs­day Au­gust 31, aged 80.

An an­nounce­ment on the Uist Facebook page read sim­ply:

Nor­man Mackin­non Ma­clean – 26 De­cem­ber 193631 Au­gust 2017

It is with much sad­ness, and a deep sense of loss, that we an­nounce the death of our dear friend, Nor­man Ma­clean, at the age of eighty years. Nor­man had be­come in­creas­ingly frail since the be­gin­ning of the year, and on the 3rd of Au­gust he was ad­mit­ted to the Uist and Barra Hospi­tal, where he re­ceived ex­cel­lent care and was shown great kind­ness and ten­der­ness. He passed away peace­fully in the hospi­tal at 2.27pm this af­ter­noon.

The Glas­gow-born for­mer Oban teacher rose to fame as an en­ter­tainer in Gaelic and English in the 1970s.

He was known for his sharply-ob­served com­edy, pip­ing and was a Mòd gold medal­list. He also per­formed over many years at venues across Ar­gyll, where he re­mained pop­u­lar through­out his colour­ful life.

Af­ter news of his pass­ing was pub­lished by the Ar­gyll­shire Ad­ver­tiser, the pa­per’s Facebook page re­ceived a large vol­ume of com­ments ex­press­ing sad­ness – but also re­call­ing the life of this re­mark­able man.

Liz MacI­nally wrote: ‘I taught with this lovely man briefly at Gartham­lock Sec­ondary in Glas­gow in the ’60s.

He was funny, ar­tic­u­late, highly tal­ented and a shrewd ob­server of Scot­tish life. In par­tic­u­lar, he said no-one ever gave you praise for your achieve­ments un­til you died. So come on folks, let’s hear how great this man was. A fine piper, a Mòd medal­list, a Latin and math­e­mat­ics scholar and a bril­liant standup comic.’

Sandy Wil­son, a col­league of Nor­man Ma­cLean at Oban High School, wrote: ‘Gael­dom at its best! In the ’70s in Oban High School we lost both our Gaelic teach­ers and Nor­man self­lessly re­ar­ranged his life and came to our res­cue.

He saw all the Gaelic pupils through their ex­ams while re­main­ing his witty, charm­ing, enig­matic self.’

He added: ‘Nor­man’s ad­min was as good as his teach­ing and his re­ports on pupils were ex­em­plary: ac­cu­rate, con­cise, pro­fes­sional and as a High­land gen­tle­man he al­ways said some­thing pos­i­tive, even though re­deem­ing features were scarce. On one oc­ca­sion he con­cluded with: ‘He has beau­ti­ful teeth’.’

Neil An­der­son: ‘I’ll miss Nor­man. Re­call shar­ing the stage with him in the vil­lage hall for the millennium party.

Also no­table for his bril­liant Gaelic standup and act­ing per­for­mances and for all the peo­ple he taught Gaelic, in­clud­ing Karen Mathe­son and as the voice of Padraig Phost. Rest in Peace Nor­man.’

James Brown: ‘I re­mem­ber Nor­man well. He was part of a gig with Wil­lie John McAu­lay and Gaber­lun­zie when they per­formed at the Covenan­ters in the early ’80s. Liked a dram and a top bloke. Shame.’

Ali­son Mac­Don­ald: ‘A very tal­ented man. Heard him on many oc­ca­sions in the Royal Ho­tel, Ar­dr­ishaig, in the ’80s.’

Ian Mc Pher­son: ‘Lovely man, great fun to be with. Filmed a cou­ple of times at Bow­more Dis­tillery while I was there. Will be sadly missed.’

Gor­don Cumming: ‘Had the plea­sure of meeting Nor­man and spend­ing some time with him - a scholar and a gen­tle­man, though not given to un­due re­fine­ment. A loss to his fam­ily, friends and the greater com­mu­nity.’

Mar­garet Shaw: ‘Great man. Loved his hu­mour and Gaelic singing.

‘Will be missed by many.’

Rhetta McLean: ‘I don’t think any­one will ever be able to take his place.’

El­iz­a­beth Reive: ‘A very tal­ented, funny man.’

Jan MacMartin: ‘Sad news, a true leg­end. x’

Flora MacPher­son: ‘Very clever man and an ex­cel­lent en­ter­tainer.’

Moira McDon­ald: ‘No one like him!’

The inim­itable Nor­man Ma­cLean.

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