Mackays waves goodbye to Harry

Harry Simpson
Harry Simpson

After nearly 50 years in the industry, well-known Arbroath man Harry Simpson retired on Friday from Mackays.

Harry (62) started his career at Mackays Boatbuildings, as it was then known, in the summer of 1967, and today stepped down as a director of the firm Mackays Boat Builders (Arbroath).

Friends and colleagues threw a surprise party in the Commercial Inn and presented him with some thoughtful parting gifts and tokens of their appreciation including a painting of the yard from the 1960s, a signed picture of The Reaper which he has had so much to do with, a carving of traditional boatbuilding tools and lots of cards.

His daughter Lynn wrote and recited an amusing and heartfelt poem for Harry which was very well-received.

Harry said: “I left school at 15 with my elementary swimming certificate and my cycling proficiency and I started my apprenticeship running for the pieces and making tea and coffee and now I’m finishing up I’m back to making the coffee again, but in the office.”

He wished to extend his sincerest thanks to everyone who had worked with him, the staff, his business partner Duncan Crosbie, and his family.

Harry and Duncan were at school together and when Duncan became Mackays first apprentice in April 1967 Harry joined him not long after.

In October 1990 the apprentices became the masters and took over the firm, with the pair running it ever since.

Asked which of the projects he has worked on is his proudest, Harry replied: “There’s so many, where could you start? There’s all the historical work we’ve done, the new fishing boats we’ve built from scratch. We’ve worked on The Reaper and the SS Discovery, and all sorts of fishing and pleasure boats.

“I would like to thank all my family, friends and colleagues for the surprise party and also for the wonderful gifts and many cards I received on my retirement from the boatyard.”