A well-known Arbroath man, Norman Atkinson, retired last month after a career in local government which spanned four decades.
A native Red Lichtie, he was educated at Inverbrothock Primary School and Arbroath High School where he was geography dux in 1967.
After graduating from university in 1972, he began his career as a teacher at Hayshead Primary School. He was asked to develop environmental education projects, and took pupils to Angus House in Edzell where natural history and heritage studies were encouraged. In 1975 he was appointed assistant keeper of extension services at Dundee Museum, where he continued his involvement in environmental education.
He registered as a student of the Museums Association and embarked upon his Museums Qualification which involved studies at Leicester University
In 1977 he was appointed district curator for Angus District Council, initially based at Arbroath’s award-winning Signal Tower Museum.
Local government was reorganised in 1996, and Mr Atkinson was promoted to a head of service post within the new Cultural Services Department. In 1998 he became depute director, and in 1999 was promoted to director. He was then in charge of all Angus libraries, archives, halls and theatre as well as the museums and galleries.
Brechin Town House was redeveloped as a museum as part of the Brechin Town Heritage Initiative and visited by Prince Charles. The redevelopment of the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath which reopened in 2008 was significant personal achievement.
The bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse in 2011 brought another huge opportunity, and ‘The Year of the Light’ as he coined it, saw the complete redevelopment of Signal Tower Museum, which was reopened by Princess Anne.
Mr Atkinson is married to Noreen, a teacher, who is now retired. They have two children, a son Ross (35), who is vice-president of Simmons & Co. International Bank, Aberdeen, and a daughter Kim (33), who is policy director of the Scottish Sports Association, Edinburgh.