Ronald was born at East Clumpton farm, Dumfries on 5th August 1943. His father James was a dairyman and his mother Margaret looked after the home. He was their third son growing up with his older brothers Gordon and the late Leonard. Later they were joined by their younger sister Marlene. His father’s work meant moving around different farms and Ronald went to school in Dumfries, Annan and Moffat. During his time at school he was a keen army cadet and always wanted to join up, however a hearing difficulty prevented this. On leaving school Ronald worked with his father on the farm in Moffat but when the family moved to Torthorwold he went to work in the rubber factory for a short while. Ronald knew his vocation in life lay elsewhere and he was accepted to train as a nurse at the Crichton Hospital later specializing in mental health. After qualifying he took up a post in Bolton where he lived for almost 40 years. He was in his late 50’s when came to live in Lockerbie after early retirement.
During his retirement Ronald became involved in the civic life of the community. He was greatly involved in Lochmaben Residents Association, becoming chair of the organisation. This took him all over Scotland and he regularly attended meetings in the Parliament at Holyrood. He used to speak of the people he met there; he had a personal interview with the First Minister Nichola Sturgeon and knew Ruth Davidson as well as other MSPs. Only recently he received an award on behalf of his Association and was elected as one of the new regional chairpersons. He was also involved with Lockerbie and District Community Council and Doreen Jenkins its secretary told me he was first elected as a councillor 6 years ago and was made vice chair. She spoke of his work at Holyrood and he gave detailed reports to meetings with the Scottish Government. She described him aas a valued member, a willing worker and one who was always willing to listen and help residents. He was very proud of his connections to the Prince of Wales estate at Highgrove where he had friends working there. And every Christmas he arranged holly to be sent from Highgrove to decorate the church. He spoke of taking Camilla’s dog for a walk during one of his visits there and was recently introduced to Princess Anne in Ayrshire after receiving an award in Edinburgh.
Ronald’s brother, Gordon wrote to me that Ronald loved to travel to many foreign parts including America France & Spain, he made a lot of friends throughout his travels that I did not know about, until I went through his address and telephone book, there was too many to print. He was indeed a great traveller not only in the UK but particularly to America where he visited his late brothers family, Rosemary, and his nephews Leonard and Daniel. But he also made many friends there particularly in Church circles and kept in contact with them regularly. And like others I have been contacted from people in the United States expressing shock and sadness at his passing.
Ronald’s faith was of the greatest importance to him. He became involved in the International Justice Mission and helped build the internet prayer chain known as PUSH sending prayer requests all over the world. He became involved though his close friend, Sister Lorna with the Good Shepherd Sisters. Ronald had known her long before she took vows when they both attended Langside College forty years ago on a course on Residential Child Care. When she was at the Convent in Manchester he used to travel from Bolton often and knew many of the Sisters. He used to take the elderly ones for walks and Sister Lorna described him to me as a people person. They kept up their contact and almost every month met in Peebles for lunch. She spoke to me also about his devotion this Church.
From first coming to All Saints Ronald wished to be involved. He became an Altar Server, was Sacristan who prepared the church for services, was a lesson reader, trained as an intercessor offering prayers during the Eucharist, was Vestry Secretary, a member of the Annandale Group Committee and even offered his services as verger, church cleaner and even made sure the outside flower tubs were watered and prepared every year with bulbs. Ronald was a regular visitor to members of the congregation in need. He was always willing to lend a hand. He was also an accredited prison visitor taking the weekly service readings to share with inmates at Dumfries. His whisky marmalade which he used to make and sell for church funds will be missed by many. Ronald made a difference to people’s lives through service, caring and his larger than life personality. He will be missed by very many.