Obituary: Death of former Falkirk Herald editor Douglas Carr

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Former Falkirk Herald colleagues gathered earlier this week to say farewell to a much-respected journalist who had edited the newspaper for many years.

Douglas Carr died on Saturday, August 12 in Craigieknowes Care Home in Perth, aged 74 years.

News of his death brought tributes from those who had worked with him over the years, but also from many others in Scottish journalism who respected his knowledge and expertise. As one summed up: “He was a local newspaper legend.”

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Born in Aberdeenshire, Douglas excelled at school but always knew he wanted to work in newspapers. His first foray into the industry in the 1960s found him securing a job as a trainee reporter with F. Johnston & Company, publishers of The Falkirk Herald. There he was to meet two other new recruits who would go on to be lifelong friends: journalist Jim Hendry from Broughty Ferry and photographer Richard Parker from Stenhousemuir.

Douglas Carr, former Falkirk Herald editor, who died earlier this month. Pic: ContributedDouglas Carr, former Falkirk Herald editor, who died earlier this month. Pic: Contributed
Douglas Carr, former Falkirk Herald editor, who died earlier this month. Pic: Contributed

The trio learned their craft at the then Herald offices at 125 High Street and while the other two would go on to work on national newspapers, Douglas remained a weekly newspaper man going on to edit the paper for which he held a lifelong affection. However, he was held in such high esteem by the company that he would often be sent to lead projects in other areas, including for a spell editing the weekly newspaper in the new town of Cumbernauld.

Some of his colleagues were surprised when he announced his intentions to go to university and gave up journalism while studying for a degree in history and politics at the University of Edinburgh.

But newspapers were always his first love and he returned to once again edit The Falkirk Herald, where in the1990s he was pivotal in the paper campaigning to retain services at Falkirk & District Royal Infirmary.

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Together with Jim and Richard, Douglas was a partner in Scoop Inns, the trio’s foray into the licensed trade with the first public house they ran, the Roman Bar in Camelon.

Speaking at the funeral service in Stirlingshire Crematorium, Bannockburn, on Monday, Jim recalled Douglas, who was slight in stature, barring a regular who had earlier been offensive to a staff member. As Douglas saw him off the premises, he reflected: “I rather enjoyed that.”

If some colleagues were surprised by his decision to go to university, the announcement from Douglas that he planned to retire aged only 49 left them shocked. But he had decided the time was right to spend more time doing some of the things he loved best: travelling, gardening and cooking, as well as spending time with his family and many friends.

The death of his partner Neil in 2018 left a huge gap in his life and the following year he decided to move to Auchterarder in Perthshire. Throughout lockdown he spent his time transforming his garden and as restrictions eased, enjoyed once again catching up with his wide circle of friends.

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Illness earlier this year saw him spend a time in hospital before eventually moving into the care home where he passed away peacefully earlier this month.

He is survived by his nephew Derek, who said rather than an uncle, Douglas was always more like a big brother to him.

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