Auctioneer David Gray will be sorely missed

David Gray was widely known, not just in his native Lanark but much further afield.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 11:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 12:20 am
David and Margaret Gray in Castlebank Park, Lanark, where their wedding photos were also shot.

Renowned as a gentleman, he could have been a scholar too had his parents, Isaac and Mary, been able to afford to continue his education.

That was not to be for the second of their three boys, who was born on Boxing Day 1936 on the family small holding at Stonebyres.

Isaac kept pigs and poultry and David often ducked school to go to Lanark Auction Market to watch the pigs being sold.

This was the inspiration for a career which spanned an incredible 44 years.

David joined Lawrie and Symington at the age of 15 as an office boy, before becoming assistant cashier.

But he was not cut out to be a backroom boy and when new managing director, Bob Cairns, offered him a shot at the rostrum in his mid-20s, he jumped at the chance.

And there he remained for 44 years; even after retiring in 1996, he continued as the firm’s PR man – because everyone knew and trusted him.

It is for that reason that David’s passing on Saturday, April 3, at the age of 84, will have been so keenly felt in the farming community across Scotland, as well as among his former colleagues.

Speaking on their behalf, chief clerk Keith Whitton said: “David was so well respected and trusted; he treated everyone the same, whether they were selling two hens or 2000 sheep.

“He was a joy to work with and a dear friend who will be very sorely missed, not just by his colleagues here in Lanark but in the farming community across Scotland.

"He was a true gentleman.”

While he loved his job, David’s other great love was Margaret, a Liverpool lass who caught his eye at a New Year’s party in Glasgow when they were both aged 22.

The couple married in Lanark in 1962 and their wedding photos were shot in Castlebank Park; one of the last images captured of them together, featured here, was also in their beloved park.

Initially, the couple set up home in a flat owned by the auction mart in Lanark; they later moved to Hope Street with their newborn son Bryan (57) and then Carluke when their daughter Lesley (52) came along.

The Grays, who also have a grand-daughter, Aimee (19), later moved to Hamilton but, in 1999, they finally settled in Blackwood.

A member of the Church of God in Wishaw, after recovering from bowel cancer in 2000 David found a new calling in life.

Lesley said: “They invited dad to go on a missionary trip to Burma; he ended up going 18 times, the last trip being in his 80th year. He loved the people there.

”He would take suitcases filled with goodies and come home with knitted hats and coasters for us. We’ve been touched by the messages we’ve received from people there and closer to home.”

A gentle man in every sense, David never raised his voice in anger and always took the time to thank others for their kindness.

A sun worshipper, any spare time he had was spent in the garden or on foreign adventures with Margaret.

His last journey will start at the couple’s home at 12.30pm on Friday, with a private service – due to Covid-19 restrictions – at Dorricott’s in Larkhall then on to Lesmahagow Cemetery for 2pm.