Published: 05/09/2012 11:00 - Updated: 05/09/2012 11:22

'It's a sad loss for the town'

Written byBy Gordon Calder

David Morrison, who died at the weekend.
David Morrison, who died at the weekend.

ADOPTED Caithnessian David Morrison, who has died at the age of 71, was yesterday described as "a man of considerable stature" and "a stalwart supporter of the arts."

The tribute was paid by David More who, along with Mr Morrison spearheaded the campaign to try and save the Carnegie Library in Wick from closure.

Mr More, a retired teacher, said his friend was instrumental in setting up the Save Our Library Action Group, which received "a tremendous amount of support."

"The campaign attracted thousands of signatures and was taken to the highest level and even appealed unsuccessfully to the Scottish Government," said Mr More.

He said Morrison was "a character" who made a huge contribution to the community, particularly in the arts.

Morrison was a writer and painter but also a member of the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and the Wick Players.

He launched the popular Wick Festival of Poetry, Folk and Jazz and was the author or editor of numerous books of poetry and essays, including works on writers such as Neil M. Gunn and Fionn MacColla.

In 1970, Morrison founded the Scotia Review, a radical literary magazine, which he edited for 34 years. He also

set up Pulteney Press which published many local and well-established


In 1984, the National Library of Scotland held an exhibition in celebration of the magazine Scotia Review and it holds copies of the magazine and Morrison’s manuscripts.

In 2006 a collection of his poems was published by Poetry Salzburg, at the University of Salzburg, titled The Cutting Edge: Collected Poems 1966-2003 by David Morrison.

"David was a character and made a huge contribution to the community. He was a poet, a painter and an author.

"He was a man of considerable stature and a stalwart supporter of the arts. He will be sadly missed," said Mr More.

Morrison, who lived in Macarthur Street, died on Saturday.

Born in Glasgow on August 4, 1941, he was educated at Glasgow High School and Hamilton Academy. At the age of 18, he became an assistant librarian before attending Glasgow College of Commerce and Strathclyde University to qualify as a professional librarian. He spent a year as principal assistant in the Edinburgh College of Art before moving to Caithness in 1965. He was county librarian and – following reorganisation of local government in 1975 – became area librarian for Caithness and Sutherland.

He took early retirement in his fifties and concentrated on writing and painting.

The community council paid tribute to Morrison on Monday night at their monthly meeting. Chairwoman Ruth Black led the tributes and said his death was "a sad loss for the town."

He recently appeared at public meetings to express his concerns over the plans to close the town’s library, where he spent many years of his working life.

Mr Morrison is survived by his wife Edna, son Ewan and daughter Glenna. His funeral service takes place today (Wednesday) from the Dunnett House Service Rooms in Wick at 2pm and thereafter to Wick Cemetery.

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