Obituary: Tom Ottey

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A MAN who held the rare distinction of being president of rotary clubs in both England and Scotland has died at the age of 97.

Mr Tom Ottey had lived at Easter Wynd in Berwick until ill health forced him to move to Hillside Care Home in Tweedmouth where his wife Winifred also moved this year.

His service to rotary spanned more than 60 years, a remarkable record, and until his illness he was still attending rotary meetings every week.

He joined the Berwick club in 1951 and became their president in 1961-2. Moving to Galashiels with his work he was welcomed into the club there and quickly became their president.

On his retirement he rejoined Berwick. He became a Paul Harris Fellow – rotary’s highest honour – and his excellent service was also rewarded when Berwick made him an honorary member. He also held the long service badge and certificate.

Mr Ottey was also an enthusiastic founder member of the Berwick Probus Club, attending regularly and assisting with the sound system.

Born at Hetton-Le-Hole, Mr Ottey was employed as an electrician at Walker Naval Yard, working on all kinds of Royal Navy Warships. He wanted to join the forces but his skills were so valuable that he remained at the yard.

He left there to take up a job with the South of Scotland Electricity Board at Hawick and was involved in the huge switchover from AC to DC.

Moving to Berwick he became Contracts Engineer and then headed both commercial engineering departments until 1964 when he left to take up a senior position with the board in Galashiels, responsible for a large area of the Borders.

He was, for a time, City and Guild teacher to young apprentices in Eyemouth.

He retired and returned to Berwick, a town he had grown to love.

In his younger days he was a keen tennis player and a golfer and he was renowned for his copperplate handwriting.

A caravan enthusiast, he and his wife travelled all over the country to caravan sites. He continued driving well into his nineties.

He is survived by his wife and daughter.