Born in the Scottish Borders but raised in his early years in central Africa, Angus returned to Scotland where he gained a good all-round education at high school and university. Angus loved his student days: the stimulus and challenge to his intellect and the fun and comradeship of that ‘coming of age’. Of equal importance, Angus learned about people, how to work with them, how to ‘rub along’ with people of different outlooks, expectations, and life experiences. He worked as a kitchen hand, hotel porter, bus conductor, brewery ‘returns’ cleaner, Christmas ‘postie’, and road sweeper.
The income supplemented his Scottish Education Department grant and allowed Angus to take two weeks ‘off’ at the end of each summer period to hitch-hike through the UK and western Europe. His love of travel took him to England where he worked as a loco-driver at a quarry before entering retail management. Four years later, he was back in Scotland to train and work as a teacher. By then Angus had met and married Jan; and with two little daughters, they set off for Australia where Angus had been offered a two-year government contact. ‘I must have done something right,’ says Angus, as he became acting head of department, then senior boarding master in a co-ed independent school before his appointment as principal of a university residential college. Always people focussed, these last two positions demanded good leadership in pastoral care.
At the college he pioneered facilities for disabled students and introduced professional counselling support for both students and staff. On retirement, his contribution to the education and wellbeing of those in his care was recognised by the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia. In the meantime, following career opportunities, his daughters and sons-in-law had moved to London with Angus and Jan’s four grandchildren. Having travelled the globe, living, working or visiting five continents, Angus had never lost his love for Britain and its heritage. Despite leaving friends and a life-style they enjoyed in Australia, Angus and his wife were delighted to settle in the Cotswolds – and enjoy sharing family life both with trips to London and having family, especially their grandchildren, visit to enjoy some country living. Wherever Angus has lived he has become involved in community activities and affairs, often taking a leadership role and speaking in public at gatherings large and small, including taking part in the occasional broadcast.
He is equally at home with the formality of special public events, at being an after-dinner speaker or delivering a eulogy, as he is with having a chat with a neighbour across the fence or sharing one of his ludicrous Grandpa stories or riddles with his grandchildren. The desire to serve his community, to meet the needs of others, to offer his pastoral care experience and communication skills has led Angus to become a secular celebrant, working with individuals and families to provide family and funeral ceremonies that are personal, relevant, significant, authentic, and above all person-centred.