Remembering George Forrest Auld
21st May 1939 to 5th December 2018
After passing my driving test on Arran in the 1970s, I spent the next 20 years of my car buying life blissfully unaware some people actually chose the make and model of the vehicle they desired.
I assumed everyone organised transport the same way as myself and those that I knew on the island. You simply gathered up as much money as you could muster, gave it to George Forrest (Foggy) Auld and asked him to find a car at the market which he visited each week with fellow motley mechanics including D G Weir, E K Ribbeck and D S Bannatyne.
When the MOT was required you returned to Dippen and faced Forrest’s oral exam. ‘Are the brakes OK?’ ‘Not too bad.’ ‘Is the steering OK?’ ‘Not too bad.’ ‘Are you taking it to the mainland?’ ‘No.’ ‘Are you planning to sell it?’ ‘No.’ ‘Ach well, it should be fine.’
Whenever you met Foggy there was always the joke of the day – he must have had a thousand of them tucked away as there was never any repetition. And there was always the ‘twinkle’. That cheeky sparkle in the eyes that said G F Auld knew something you didn’t and that he may or may not tell you depending on whether time and circumstances permitted.
For many years he met up with the 5 o’clock club in the Whiting Bay Hotel and Shurig where along with Messrs Angus, Spiers, Ross-Bain and Moglia he swapped patter and gossip as well as contributing to the financial well-being of the whisky industry.
Forrest was a long serving member of the Coastguard and further helped the community by making himself available at all times of the day and night to extricate errant drivers (including his sons) and their cars from the ever present danger of island ditches.
Although originally a bank clerk he, of course, will be remembered as a mechanic whose mantra was ‘get the customer back on the road as soon as possible’.
Not being mechanically minded, I assumed Forrest’s technique was standard – discarding parts that were deemed non-essential and adding a selection of nuts, bolts and pieces of wire in a Heath Robinson arrangement that would have probably baffled the original designer.
Born and raised in Dippen, he was one of the last of his generation to do National Service - in Germany. After that he seldom strayed too far from the island. In 1961 he met Margaret, who was holidaying on the island, and three years later they married in Danderhall, Edinburgh. After a brief spell at Springhill, Whiting Bay, they moved to Dippen where they spent the next 50 years, raising sons Nicol and Ross and daughter Yvonne.
Margaret and Forrest lived happily at Dippen until ill health meant his last few years were spent at Montrose House.
In the last few weeks, Forrest’s health deteriorated and he passed away surrounded by his family on December 5.
The family thank the wonderful staff at Montrose House, the Arran doctors, distict nurses and all those who have given good wishes and support over the last few weeks.
Forrest, who was 79, is survived by wife Margaret, daughter Yvonne, sons Nicol and Ross and brother Jim. Contributed on behalf of
George as he will best be remembered.