Montrosians’ city honour

Bill Murray is pictured at the swearing-in ceremony with Dr John Smail'Jack Chalmers
Bill Murray is pictured at the swearing-in ceremony with Dr John Smail'Jack Chalmers

montrosians Bill and Billy Murray have joined distinguished company by receiving the honour of the Freedom of the City of Glasgow.

Now living in Auchterarder, the father and son join such illustrious names as Nelson Mandela, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Royal Highland Fusiliers and comedian Billy Connolly.

Freedom of the city is the greatest tribute that can be paid by the municipality to an individual and is conferred by the Lord Provost of Glasgow.

The Murrays were nominated by Deacon-elect Dr John Smail, a Freeman of both the City of Glasgow and London.

They were sworn in to the Incorporation of Wrights at a recent ceremony in the city.

Dr Smail said: “Billy and my son, Andrew, were friends at college and have retained this friendship from those days. Andrew followed me into becoming a member and taking the freedom, and, in respect of the high regard in which I hold Billy, I put forward his name and also that of his dad Bill who, apart from his own great talents, was also trained as a carpenter, with an obvious connection to our Craft, the Wrights.”

Mr Murray senior attended school in Hillside, Craigo and Inverkeilor before leaving at 15 to start a full-time pre-apprenticeship course at Kingsway Technical College in Dundee. This was followed by a four-year day-release course at Angus Technical College, Arbroath, while he served his apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner with local company W.W. Pert.

He attended evening classes, graduating with distinction, and worked as a surveyor and estimator in the construction and civil engineering industry. In 1979 he joined the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a Works Supervisor, moving to France in January 1979. The commission is responsible for the maintenance of all Commonwealth war graves and memorials world-wide and his job also took him to Israel, Egypt, England and Belgium.

Billy began his schooling at Borrowfield Primary School but left when his parents moved to France, although he later returned to attend Lathallan Prep School near Johnshaven.

Bill said: ““My roots are basic. I come from an agricultural background, and for a humble carpenter and joiner to go on to become a member of The Incorporation of Wrights in Glasgow is fantastic.”