An­drew Mackay


The Her­ald’s chief mo­tor­ing writer and for­mer sup­ple­ments ed­i­tor Born: Septem­ber 5, 1948;

Died: Oc­to­ber 14, 2018

AN­DREW Dou­glas Mackay, who has died af­ter a short ill­ness only a few weeks af­ter his 70th birth­day, was a tow­er­ing fig­ure in The Her­ald for al­most three decades.

Born in Dum­fries, his time at Lau­rieknowe Pri­mary School pro­duced a life­long love of lan­guage. He had a pas­sion for read­ing and, rather than kick­ing a ball about at week­ends, he would head to the li­brary, ar­riv­ing home with a pile of books.

The li­brar­ian en­cour­aged this en­thu­si­asm and sug­gested ti­tles to him, in­clud­ing a se­ries that would re­main a favourite into adult­hood, Rich­mal Cromp­ton’s Just Wil­liam.

He did take his nose out of books dur­ing fam­ily hol­i­days in Ayr with his par­ents and sis­ter Morag, where as a young teenager a nat­u­ral ta­lent for golf emerged. His fa­ther sup­ported this by buy­ing a six iron and a few golf balls for An­drew’s birth­day and in­tro­duc­ing him to Dum­fries & Gal­loway Golf Club.

Once again, he gave it ev­ery­thing, prac­tis­ing the same shot re­peat­edly in the evenings and at week­ends. It paid off, re­sult­ing in com­pe­ti­tion wins and play­ing off a three hand­i­cap.

Books and golf helped him get through his years at Dum­fries High School, a time he de­scribed as “the worst years of his life”, but he did write his first re­view here, on Uniroyal golf balls.

His tenac­ity ex­tended to af­fairs of the heart. When he met Theresa at a 21st birth­day party, which he had gate­crashed, it was clear he would have to per­se­vere. Even­tu­ally she suc­cumbed to his quirky sense of hu­mour and what she calls a “unique sense of style” and they mar­ried at Dun­score Parish Church in Jan­uary 1971.

By this time An­drew was work­ing as an ap­pren­tice com­pos­i­tor with the Dum­fries & Gal­loway Stan­dard, hav­ing es­chewed his first no­tion of be­com­ing a de­tec­tive (The word “es­chewed” is used de­lib­er­ately. He de­spised it, but af­ter a shud­der, he would def­i­nitely laugh at the cheek.).

The young cou­ple moved to Glas­gow soon af­ter, when he joined the Go­van Press. Hol­i­day cover at the Daily Ex­press be­came a full-time job, be­fore mov­ing on to the then Glas­gow Her­ald in 1975.

By 1977, the cou­ple had three chil­dren and had set­tled in Pais­ley, An­drew now strid­ing the fair­ways of Pais­ley Golf Club, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been a mem­ber of Fereneze while in Glas­gow.

He was sent on a short jour­nal­ism course, and moved up to the ed­i­to­rial floor, where his flair for lan­guage was well-used as a fea­tures sub-ed­i­tor, be­fore his pro­mo­tion to Sup­ple­ments Ed­i­tor.

Big Andy, as his Her­ald col­leagues knew him, never suf­fered fools at all, never mind gladly (par­tic­u­larly lazy fools). How­ever, he sup­ported those in gen­uine need, never shy of the “get your coat on, let’s talk about this out­side the of­fice” style of man­age­ment.

An­drew worked hard dur­ing of­fice hours but then the rangy fig­ure in the anorak, well over 6ft, would hurry away with a pa­per un­der his arm – noth­ing be­ing al­lowed to in­trude on fam­ily time. How­ever, he did en­joy golf­ing com­pe­ti­tion days with col­leagues when he joined the West of Scot­land Al­liance. He was happy to share fam­ily sto­ries with col­leagues. His pride in Theresa and the chil­dren, de­light­ing in the ex­ploits of his Westies, and when the fam­ily took over Theresa’s fam­ily farm, an­i­mated tales of pulling er­rant live­stock from ditches in the early hours.

In the end there was a sub­stan­tial flock of sheep and a herd of Pedi­gree Belted Gal­loways. The “beasts”, as he called them, would be treated to his eclec­tic taste in mu­sic – Sta­tus Quo, Abba, Glenn Miller, Louis Prima and The Killers were all played loud – an ad­van­tage of liv­ing in an iso­lated spot.

Af­ter leav­ing The Her­ald in 2004, he re­mained a valu­able con­tribu tor as chief mo­tor­ing writer, a role that took him around the world and gained an­other net­work of friends in the As­so­ci­a­tion of Scot­tish Mo­tor­ing Writ­ers. He also be­came, for 12 years, ed­i­tor of Menopause Mat­ters, which won mag­a­zine of the year at the Scot­tish PPA awards in 2013.

When An­drew joined the Ro­tary in Thorn­hill he quickly be­came Pres­i­dent, giv­ing him the op­por­tu­nity to open the door to fe­male mem­bers for the first time.

Golf be­came less of an in­ter­est, but his life­long love of Robert Burns was undi­min­ished. He could re­cite Tam O’ Shanter with all the an­i­ma­tion and drama re­quired, and was a mem­ber of the Howff Club in Dum­fries.

He said Burns was on a par with God, quite a state­ment for a man of faith.

An­drew is sur­vived by Theresa, Gor­don, He­len, and Stu­art, five grand­chil­dren, and his beloved West High­land Ter­rier Louie.

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