Clydesdale businessman Arthur Bell will be missed

Arthur Bell
Arthur Bell

Gazette reporters – like all those who knew him – are saddened at the death of Clydesdale businessman Arthur Bell.

On the surface he has a long, long list of achievements - Scotland Direct, the mail order firm he set up in New Lanark to sell the best of Scottish products and then moved to Biggar as it expanded so rapidly; his matching Thimble Guild and Scottish Gourmet selling top quality food; his ceramics line; his involvement with New Lanark; and his work setting up the Clydesdale Development Company (and were those initials chosen deliberately to sow confusion with Clydesdale District Council?).

There were his battles - his final one against the developers wanting a quarry on a beauty spot on the Clyde; and his politics - Margaret Thatcher visited Scotland Direct when Arthur was a dedicated Conservative; he later left the party.

And there was his personal battle after heart by-pass surgery in 1999 went badly wrong, resulting in the loss of a leg and leaving him in a wheelchair. The disabled suddenly had a very strong voice, one with a lot of influence, on their side and an undaunted Arthur was soon turning out for wheelchair curling.

Running through everything was his enthusiasm, and a sense of fun! His production of his own whisky led to a battle in the court of session with the owners of the other Arthur Bell and Sons. It was that mischievous streak that made him such fun.

Our sympathies go out to Susan and the family - see next week’s Gazette for an obituary.