Farewell to a Friend
We joined the gathered crowds in Bridge of Allan this morning to pay tribute to Malcolm Allan, the Owl Man, age 85, as his cortege passed through the streets.
A Highland piper escorted the coffin from the church to the waiting hearse. ( Because of Covid only family membes and close neighbours were allowed in .)
On the coffin lay his most special owl, a "teddy" owl which belonged to his son David, who sadly passed away with cystic fibrosis.
This went with him to the crematorium.
Last week I paid tribute to him on Blipfoto.
And eight years ago I wrote about his exhibition in the Smith museum and art gallery in Stirling.
The museum said:
“Malcolm Allan, a retired university rare books librarian, began acquiring owls when he was 15. As this show testifies, he never stopped.
Inspired by his school badge at Manchester Grammar School, where a woven owl urged pupils to “Dare to be Wise”, Allan has spent decades pursuing the folklore, stories and literature of his beloved birds.
He's collected 4,150 owl-themed pieces ranging from fine art to ornaments and soft toys, as well as 500 books and “several thousand” greeting cards, all annotated in beautiful calligraphy across seven catalogues.
“I like sharing my passion for owls, and welcome this public show of a small part of my collection,” says the historian, who is also an accomplished church organist.
He was the author of several books on local history.
My enduring memory of Malcolm is his performance at the Park of Keir Public Inquiry where he gave evidence on behalf of the community extolling the virtues of the area and the sanctuary it provided for rare corncrakes on their migratory route.
Olympic Gold medalist Andy Murray, had just flown in on his private jet from America fresh from more tennis successes and he sat at the back of the room with his mother, Judy Murray, total bemusement on his face unable to comprehend what corncrakes had to do with the proposed building of the Park of Keir tennis centre .
This week eight years after that Public Inquiry we learn this development has finally been “knocked on the head” as one politician said to me this morning.
Malcolm Allan would have been delighted.