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Peter Chappell, who has died at 83, retired to Arran from a variety of highly-trained jobs, but who quickly became known as a singer, gardener, business advisor and accomplished speaker.
We had visited Arran as a family on many occasions since the 1970s. A house was purchased in Lochranza in 1992 and my parents moved up to the house full time in 1993.
Dad worked part-time for the local enterprise board and his spare time was taken up with the Arran Gilbert and Sullivan productions. One of the final shows, South Pacific, had dad wearing a coconut bra and a grass skirt. Mum tried, begged, me to go but I was doing my hair that night, sadly.
In good weather, he and mum would be in the garden. They would introduce some radical new ideas as well as making sure the trailing clematis would strangle anyone trying to gain access to the back door.
Mum and dad were instrumental in the idea behind the Open Gardens in Lochranza in the early 2000s. The garden gate would be replaced to show a maple leaf design, courtesy of son David, which reflected mum and dad’s love of Canada. The gate is often commented on by visitors.
Dad was keen to involve himself in any musical productions on the island – either at the local hall, or at the high school. He worked tirelessly on ideas, some of which never saw the light of day, but it kept him busy on the island during the winter. He also carried out comprehensive research into links between Arran and Canada and held many talks in village halls. These talks would often ‘go on a bit’, but it gave mum extra time with her quilting friends.
The four older grandchildren arrived annually – Carter was more local and thus a more frequent visitor, and dad would suggest we all went out for our dinner. This usually meant cramming into his tiny boat so we could catch some mackerel for the barbecue.
Occasional return trips were made by mum and dad to Canada in the early 2000s until around 2009, after which mum contracted Alzheimer’s. Mum moved into a care home in 2011. Dad suffered hugely from living without mum and yet made two further trips to Canada and one to the southwest USA in 2014 to fulfil a promise to his own mother that I’d get dad to see the Grand Canyon.
By this time, with signs of dementia himself, dad moved into sheltered housing and then, in September 2015, to Templeton House Care Home in Ayr. Mum passed away in July 2016, with dad sadly following just 35 weeks later.
Dad’s ashes will be taken to a suitable part of the forest on the shores of Moira Lake, Ontario, where their close friends still have their lakeside home.