Kenyan born former executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland dies aged 90

Donald Hardie
Donald Hardie

Former Westminster parliamentary candidate John Donald Morrison Hardie (known as Donald Hardie) passed away on July 5, aged 90.

Born in Kisumu, Kenya on September 27, 1928, his parents John and Gertrude Hardie came from Birnie and Aberlour, Morayshire.

John was a survivor of Gallipoli who was badly wounded in Mesopotamia while serving with the Scottish Horse (light cavalry), and transferred to India with Skinners Horse after the war before settling in Kenya as a branch bank manager with Standard Bank.

Donald developed a respect for the British Empire and its positive influences as he grew up in Kenya, with the family taking summer holidays in northern Uganda.

Just before the second world war, the family had to move back to the UK. Being too young to serve, boy scout Donald would relay messages between different anti-aircraft gun batteries on his bicycle before the era of full radio and wireless communication.

Attending St Andrews University in Scotland where he met his future wife Sally Pat, Donald became president of the undergraduate student body, played hockey for the university and spent a scholarship year at university in Sweden.

Following Sally Pat to the US, Donald spent the next year on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Indiana, before working in a tyre factory in Ohio.

The couple married in Atlanta in 1952 and Donald was immediately conscripted into the British army, specifically into the 79th Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders regiment.

After completing his army service in 1955, Donald wanted to move back to Scotland and liked either of Scotland’s two traditional export industries, woollens and whisky.

Joining Munrospun in Edinburgh, he subsequently founded his own woollens export company, Hardie Wood Ltd., with Angus Wood.

By 1960, Donald and Sally had three children; David, Robin and Katharine.

After developing an interest in British politics, Donald ran as a Conservative candidate for Parliament in Berwick & East Lothian and Northumberland, coming frustratingly close to being elected, losing one election in Northumberland by 57 out of 45,000 votes cast and another in Berwick and East Lothian by 641 votes.

He went on to run the referendum campaign in Scotland in 1974 before becoming executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland in 1979 which he ran for 18 years. In 1987, he was awarded an OBE for his work and contributions to business in Scotland.

Helping to create and promote the National Museum of Scotland in 2006 and the 50th anniversary addition to the Netherlands’ Second World War memorial to the 51st Highland Division in 1994, were two ways in which he demonstrated his passion for Scotland.

Faith was also very important to him, as demonstrated by his 55 years of service as the session clerk at Humbie Kirk.

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