Our AGM in November saw the retirement of two ScotWays stalwarts, Honorary Vice-President Philip Lawson and Chairman George Menzies. Over the years ScotWays has benefited from the long and dedicated service of many staff and Directors, but these two have an exceptional record of over half-a-century as Directors between them.
Philip was been a Director of ScotWays since 1981 – yes, that’s 35 years – and Hon. Vice-President since 2010. His role on the Board was always that of a quiet voice of astute judgement, informed by exceptionally wide field knowledge of Scotland. He’s one of those hugely committed activists in the Scottish countryside movement who over decades filled multiple roles in varied organisations – we would mention only Donald Moir, Willie Ferris and Donald Bennet among those associated with ScotWays. Philip was Chairman of the Scottish Youth Hostels Association for over 20 years, earning a hugely deserved MBE along the way, and also served as Treasurer of the Gatliff Trust that runs simple hostels in the Hebrides. We should also record that over the years Philip saved ScotWays a substantial amount of money in room fees, by quietly arranging for us to have access to meeting rooms in successive Edinburgh Youth Hostels. We wish him a very well-deserved and peaceful retirement from ScotWays.
Compared to Philip, George is a mere fly-by-night, having become a Director of the Society in 2001 but rising rapidly through the ranks, as his expertise and commitment deserved, to become Vice-Chair in 2002 and Chairman in 2004. We have benefited hugely from his legal expertise and his genial but always judicious Chairing of Board meetings and AGMs – even though he sometimes couldn’t entirely conceal the fact that his emotions were tied up with events at Murrayfield when body and mind were engaged in the Dewar’s Centre in Perth. George’s exceptional grasp of the law of access, particularly expressed in his role as our representative to the National Access Forum, and the astute legal judgements he brought to thorny issues like Network Rail’s mass closure of access over level crossings, have earned much respect for him and by association for ScotWays. We are grateful that George has consented to accept the role of Honorary Adviser, so that we can continue to tap into his specialist knowledge and incisive legal insights, which have been of so much value to the Society.
We extend our warmest thanks and best wishes to both.