Colin Thain, one of the founding partners and managing-director of Macduff Diesels, has died suddenly aged 74.
Together with business partners, Colin formed the company in 1997 and worked in the engine specialist 12 hours a day until his death.
“Macduff Diesels was his life,” said Colin’s son, Gary. “He never retired and was still working from 8am until 8pm because he really enjoyed his work.
“He was a man who would always go out of his way to help people whether it was people through work or family and friends. He was obliging and independent.”
Colin was born in 1949 to Bill Thain, a mechanic with MacLennan’s Transport of Aberdeen, and his wife, Margaret, who gave up nursing to raise her family.
As a child, he lived at the Toll House at Auchintoul and went to Aberchirder Primary School.
In 1960 the family moved to a croft which Colin helped work.
“Everyone who passed their 11-plus exams went to Banff Academy so my dad and his pals decided to fail them so they could stay on at Aberchirder,” said Gary.
“He then served his time with Shearer’s Transport and did his City and Guilds at Aberdeen College, staying with his aunt and uncle, June and Bert Fiddes.”
Colin then joined the AEC in Glasgow a manufacturer of lorries and vans.
He lived in Glasgow during the week and returned to work on the croft at weekends, travelling back early on Monday mornings.
In 1971, he met his future wife Carol at an event at Forgue Hall. He returned to work in Aberdeen just before getting married at Huntly registrar’s office in 1974 and then had a brief spell working at MacLennan’s Transport while his grandfather still worked there.
The couple lived for a few years in a caravan while Colin, with the help of family and friends, built his own house. During this time, the couple had two of a family; Colin in 1975 and Gary in 1977.
Colin then began work with Duncan Rogers engineering before being invited by John Watt to help start Macduff Diesels in 1997.
Sadly, Carol died in 1998. He never remarried and devoted his time to his business and hobby of motorsport.
“He enjoyed stock-car racing and sponsored and helped young people get a start in the sport,” said Gary.
“He travelled at weekends to Cowdenbeath, often towing a car on a trailer, and was a regular at Crimond races.
“My father also followed Formula One and would get up in the night to watch races if they were taking place abroad. Following rugby and snooker were among his other interests.
“Losing dad has left a huge hole in our lives but hearing stories of dad from work colleagues past and present, friends and family have brought us great comfort. He will be remembered by many for his kindness, quick wit and sense of humour.”
Bill Barrack, a director of Macduff Diesels for the last 20 years said fellow directors and staff were deeply saddened by the death of Colin who undertook the day-to-day management of the company.
The two had worked together from 1985 until 1997 before Bill became a partner of Macduff Diesels in 2004.
They both shared a love of stock-car racing and often travelled together to the track at Cowdenbeath at weekends.
Bill said: “Many years ago Colin used to race when there was a track in Turriff and then at Crimond.
“When I used to race Escorts and Sierras at Cowdenbeath, Colin used to come with me to spectate. He also took a great interest in encouraging youngsters to get involved in the sport.
“He sponsored quite a few and one driver who he had sponsored for many years under the name Macduff Diesels was Fraser Clark who travelled from the Falkirk area to attend Colin’s funeral which shows how well he was thought of.”
You can read the family’s announcement here.