Hector Woodhouse was much-loved in Linlithgow and will be sorely missed.Hector Woodhouse was much-loved in Linlithgow and will be sorely missed.
Hector Woodhouse was much-loved in Linlithgow and will be sorely missed.

Hector Woodhouse truly was one of a kind

Google me...you’ll find there is only one Hector Woodhouse in the world!

It was a phrase often coined by Hector but it was also on the money for a man who truly was one of a kind.

Born in Dunfermline, after his dad was demobbed from the navy the family lived in Kenya with Hector enjoying his primary school years at a boarding school in Nairobi.

However, the Woodhouse family later returned to Hector’s mum’s home; Maisie Walker was a proud Black Bitch, born on the site of the Customs House Hotel, and the family lived in Threemiletown, with Hector attending Linlithgow Academy.

Obtaining a degree in civil engineering from Heriot Watt University, Hector’s first job as a junior engineer was on the Forth Road Bridge (see story right).

While studying, Bo’ness lass Sheena Ferguson caught his eye on the bus and the feeling was mutual! They married in St Andrew’s Kirk in Bo’ness on October 6, 1962.

They initially lived in Edinburgh before a stint in London as Hector worked on the Victoria Line underground, then Carlisle while he worked on the M6, before being one of the first families in Clarendon Crescent, Linlithgow.

By this time, their eldest son Peter (60) had been born; their son Iain (56) was later born a Black Bitch at the family home with Anne (53) narrowly missing out on the title – Sheena was sent to Bangour as she had high blood pressure, however, Anne did arrive on Marches Day 1970!

The couple went on to have six grandchildren, whom they adored.

Hector spent most of his working life as a director at Watson’s in West Calder, while Sheena worked in and then went on to own The Linlithgow Book Shop.

The couple enjoyed an active social life as members of St Ninian’s Parish Church and sharing a love of rugby which also saw Hector join the town’s rugby club.

As a member of Linlithgow Round Table, when the Deacons Court took over organising the Marches from the Town Council in 1975, Hector was the Deacon for the Round Table in its first year.

He served as the Provost from 1994 to 1996 and quickly picked up two new monikers.

Anne said: “He was known as the sunshine Provost as there was glorious sunshine every year he served; he later became known as the kissing Provost because he enjoyed kissing everyone!”

The family also enjoyed summer holidays to Dornoch; last year, they celebrated their 50th anniversary. Sadly, Sheena passed in 2013; Hector and a close pal then enjoyed holidays to Lanzarote where he indulged his love of cigars and chess.

Generations of Linlithgow Primary School pupils will fondly remember Hector as he ran the chess club there for many years.

Others will remember him for his ability to speak to anyone, while enjoying his pipe.

Anne said: “Dad loved people; he’d go outside to smoke his pipe and he’d have a story about someone!

“Everyone knew him – he’d walk up the street and so many folk would stop to speak to him.

“His favourite line was: look me up on Google, there’s only one Hector Woodhouse in the world...and it was true.”

A cancer diagnosis last year saw Hector undergo chemotherapy; he responded well but sadly passed on Friday, December 29, aged 84.

Since Hector’s passing, his family have been inundated with messages from Linlithgow folk who knew and loved him.

The family would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and sharing their own memories about their time with Hector.

Anne added: “We can’t thank everyone enough for the support and love they’ve shown us.

“We posted it online as we knew if we didn’t, someone else would, and the number of messages we’ve receievd since has been incredible.

“Almost everyone in the town knew dad so it’s not a surprise but it's been lovely to hear the stories.”

With St Ninian’s currently minus a minister, Hector’s funeral will be held at St Michael’s Parish Church and thereafter to Camelon Crematorium in Falkirk.

However, the date and final details are still to be confirmed.

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