Alexander Bryan George Longmore, Inverness Deputy Lieutenant, Solicitor, Honorary Sheriff and Papal Knight of St Gregory, has died aged 86.
He was known by everyone as Bryan and was a gentleman of the old school, held in the utmost regard by all who knew him.
A man of great intellect and integrity, Bryan had a long and distinguished career as a solicitor with Anderson, Shaw and Gilbert in the city.
Born to William and Margaret Longmore (née Henderson) in Evanton, Ross-shire, on April 30, 1935, Bryan was the youngest of two sons.
The family were firmly rooted in the north of Scotland where William worked as county organiser for the Board of Agriculture while Margaret was a teacher, her father having been headmaster of the school at Kiltarlity.
Bryan’s early childhood and schooling, along with his older brother Alan, was spent in Thurso.
His father William died when Bryan was still a young boy and the family moved to Aberdeen to live with his maternal grandparents, and later, his stepfather Tom Curr.
Bryan attended Mile-End Primary School in Aberdeen, winning a scholarship to Robert Gordon’s College where he excelled academically.
While there he was introduced to rugby, something he quickly abandoned after breaking several ribs, yet despite this, he retained a lifelong interest in the sport.
Bryan gained a place at Aberdeen University, graduating MA and LLB in Law in 1958. It was while an undergraduate there that he met his future wife, Leonella Lucia Ferrari (Leo), who was studying modern languages.
Leo was of Italian origin from an immigrant family who ran a café in Inverness.
Both Leo and Bryan graduated in 1958 and were married in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Inverness, on September 29, 1958.
As a Protestant, Bryan converted to Catholicism in order to marry Leo, a faith that he embraced warmly throughout his life.
Soon after, the couple emigrated to Canada, moving to Toronto where Bryan worked as assistant trust officer for the National Trust Company from 1958 until 1960.
However, the lure of home was strong and they travelled back to Europe in 1960, first to Parma and family connections in Italy, where Bryan taught English in the European School of Language from 1960 to 1961.
They then returned to Inverness, where Bryan he took up a legal apprenticeship, working for Anderson, Shaw and Gilbert, with whom he remained throughout his legal career, becoming senior partner before retiring in 1995.
Thereafter, he continued to work as a consultant for many years. Many remember him for his shrewd legal mind, detailed knowledge of the law, sound advice and judgment, courtesy, warmth and engaging manner with clients and colleagues.
Bryan undertook many other legal, civic and honorary duties. He actively promoted the cultural life of Inverness and the wider community he loved so much.
He was an honorary sheriff and general commissioner of Inland Revenue for Inverness from 1992, was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Inverness from 1998, became Dean of the Faculty of Solicitors of the Highlands and was chairman of the Social Work Service Complaints Review.
Bryan was a renowned public speaker, much sought after for formal dinners or Burns Suppers.
He willingly gave of his time and energy in support of many good causes. He was Chairman of L’Arche, a local charity dedicated to adults with learning difficulties and director of Crossroads Inverness, a charity dedicated to helping the homeless.
In addition he was a Knight of St John, helping to support various charitable works, chairman of Inverness Civic Trust, and a founding member of the Inverness City Heritage Trust.
His many private interests included gardening, walking, reading and attending the theatre.
Bryan and Leo thrived on regular outings to Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, especially to attend performances of Italian opera and classical music.
Cultural outings would include frequent trips to London to the Royal Opera, or further afield to Milan or Venice
Both greatly enjoyed the outdoors, whether tending garden plants at Midmills Road, their home from the mid-1960s, walking a series of golden retrievers in the countryside, or wild berry-picking for making jam.
The couple had a passion for travel. Italy was a particular favourite but they also visited Russia, India, China and the USA.
Bryan was predeceased by Leo in 2018 after nursing her faithfully during her final illness.
A man of deep faith, he was a regular attendee and reader at St Mary’s RC Church in Inverness.
One of his proudest achievements was his investiture as a Papal Knight of St Gregory in December 2019, the first in the north of Scotland to receive such an honour.