MEDAL SUR­PRISE

The Galloway News - - FRONT PAGE - Stu­art Gille­spie

A Gal­loway pen­sioner has been pre­sented with a top award – more than 70 years after he won it.

Re­tired ar­chi­tect Antony Wolffe re­ceived the City of Ed­in­burgh Civic De­sign Medal in a sur­prise cer­e­mony on Mon­day.

Ninety-four-year-old Mr Wolffe MBE, who lives in Gate­house of Fleet, said: “I am chuffed. I never thought this would hap­pen. It is won­der­ful and ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Mr Wolffe should have re­ceived the medal after com­ing top in his fi­nal year at Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Art in 1944.

But as he had been born in Berlin in 1920 – flee­ing his home­land in 1937 in the face of Nazi op­pres­sion – it was deemed too sen­si­tive to give an award to a Ger­man dur­ing World War Two.

In­stead, the medal was of­fered to one of his fel­low stu­dents who turned it down.

Mr Wolffe was fi­nally pre­sented with it 71 years on at the open­ing of an ex­hi­bi­tion of his work at Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Art.

Ahead of the event, col­lege of­fi­cials found the orig­i­nal medal mould and had a new ver­sion made, cast in sil­ver.

Mr Wolffe, who lives in Wood­side Ter­race, was de­lighted to fi­nally re­ceive the award.

He said: “It was a great show and it was quite a sur­prise – it was 70 years ago that it all hap­pened.

“That they were do­ing a show was good enough – I didn’t know all my ma­te­rial had been kept but there were some stu­dents do­ing a study and they came across the pa­pers so they made an ex­hi­bi­tion out of it.

“I’ve lived longer than I ever thought I truly would, so to see this ex­hi­bi­tion of my work and to fi­nally re­ceive this medal, it is quite ex­cit­ing.”

Mr Wolffe re­ceived a schol­ar­ship of £80 a year to study at the col­lege but his time there

was in­ter­rupted by pe­ri­ods of in­tern­ment in Que­bec and the Isle of Man as he was deemed to be an “en­emy alien”.

After leav­ing the col­lege, Mr Wolffe set up his own prac­tice in Ed­in­burgh be­fore mov­ing to Gate­house with his AC Wolffe and Part­ners firm in 1952. He con­tin­ued to work there un­til 2012, re­tir­ing at the age of 92.

In 1975 he was awarded an MBE for ser­vices to ar­chi­tec­ture for his work with His­toric Scot­land and he is also an honorary fel­low of the Ar­chi­tec­tural Her­itage So­ci­ety of Scot­land.

The ex­hi­bi­tion was or­gan­ised by trainees from the Skills for the Fu­ture project at the Royal Com­mis­sion on the An­cient and His­tor­i­cal Mon­u­ments of Scot­land, work­ing with ECA. It gives an in­sight into ar­chi­tec­tural ed­u­ca­tion in the late 1930s and in the war as well as Mr Wolffe’s time as a stu­dent in Ed­in­burgh. Work on a £74,000 pond at an ac­tiv­ity cen­tre is near­ing com­ple­tion.

Aber­nethy Bar­caple, near Ring­ford, is cre­at­ing the lochan so it can of­fer a range of wa­ter­sports, in­clud­ing ca­noe­ing.

It will also be avail­able to com­mu­nity groups.

In April, the Aber­nethy Trust was awarded £36,000 from the Com­mon­wealth Games Legacy Fund to go to­wards de­vel­op­ment of the lochan.

The rest of the cash has come from fundrais­ing and grant s f rom the Robert­son’s Trust and the Church of Scot­land Go For It fund, mean­ing work was able to get un­der way in Novem­ber.

Fi­nally ... Antony Wolffe MBE with the medal he should have re­ceived 71 years ago

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