Jim Ramsay dies aged 104

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ARBROATH’S famous singing centenarian, Jim Ramsay, has died at the age of 104.

Jim passed away on Monday evening at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

He was born in Newburgh, Fife, on April 7, 1906. His father, John Robert Ramsay, worked in the family butcher’s business before becoming a Congregational Church minister.

Jim became a civil engineer, working in the planning stages of the Forth Road Bridge 30 years before it was built and helping with the regeneration of Clydebank after the Second World War.

During the war Jim served with the Army in Egypt.

It is not long since Jim stepped down from membership of Arbroath Male Voice Choir, and he was a frequent member of the group which went round clubs and organisations singing to ‘the old folk’.

He had a modern and inquiring mind, and was computer literate, far more so than some people a quarter of his age.

He once said: “My motto has always been be thankful for what you’ve got because there’s an awful lot of people far worse off than you.

“Even a young man will feel old if he’s told he’s looking old. Far better to be an old man who lives for every minute.”

Jim said on another occasion: “As child I got all the nasty illnesses that were on the go - diptheria, mumps, measles, chickenpox.

“I even survived the great flu epidemic that raged across Britain from 1918. The flu put me on my back for two weeks and I truly thought I’d never get up again. But I survived, and from that day on, I’ve hardly ever been ill - I’ve certainly never needed a flu jab.”

He rode his bike well into his 70s, and reckoned that his health had stayed robust because of his love of rousing hymns and choral classics.

A couple of years ago, aged 102, Jim popped into the Arbroath Herald office, full of enthusiasm and laughter about a letter that had been correctly delivered with an address that was little more than his name, his age, and the town. Another unusual claim to fame that Jim has was that he attended the 100th birthday celebrations for his wee brother, Alex. In the 1920s, Jim and Alex joined a travelling band of entertainers known as the KM Concert party, all dressed as the Commedia dell’Arte figure Pierrot. Alex sang while Jim played the ukulele.

Sadly, Alex has also passed away.

Jim’s wife, Jean, died over 30 years ago. He is survived by their daughter, Sheila.