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Family pays tribute to Jim MacDiarmid.

WELL known Quorn man, Jim MacDiarmid OBE has passed away at the age of 91.

Here his daughter, Henrietta Page and son Ross MacDiarmid pay tribute to their father...

James Ross MacDiarmid passed away peacefully at home on February 24, at 91 years of age.

In 1989 he was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, for services to the British housebuilding industry, in particular for the provision of social housing and care homes.

Born in 1926 in Motherwell, Jim spent the early years of his life growing up in Thorpe Acre after his family moved down from Scotland and his father started work at the Willowbrook coach builders.

As a teenager in the war, Jim was educated at Loughborough College school on Ashby Road, and was part of the ARP, the 'put that light out' brigade.

Through his friend Brian Woolley of Shepshed he discovered a passion for jazz music and great ability to play the guitar, trumpet and sing. During 1943 to 1948 their band, 'The Dixieland Rhythm Kings' were a regular feature in the Victoria Room at Loughborough Town Hall on Friday and Saturday nights.

"They were particularly popular with the American troops of the 82nd Airborne division and other American troops stationed near to Loughborough, before they jumped at Arnhem.

It was a matter of particular pride that on VE day 1945 Jim and the band played all day long on the exterior balcony of Loughborough Town hall, to the crowd celebrating below.

Having briefly been selected as a 'Bevin Boy' Jim worked at Barclays bank in Loughborough Market Place followed by employment at Brush Transformers and Rolls Royce, Derby.

In 1955 he married Betty Payne, who was also working at The Brush. Betty lived on Albert Promenade and her family were the proprietors of Payne's bakery located on Wharncliffe Road.

The newlyweds moved to Quorn and lived there happily for the rest of their lives.

They had two children: Ross and Henrietta both of whom spent their entire school years at Fairfield, then Loughborough Grammar school and Loughborough High School.

In 1957 Jim started work at William Davis Construction Limited on Forest Road, and worked there until he retired in 1992 aged 67 years.

In the early days Davis' were constructing many affordable family homes on the Parks Farm development that considerably expanded Loughborough to the southwest along Beacon Road.

One of the more pleasurable events in the mid-1960's was a day spent with Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) inspecting Davis show homes followed by lunch at The King's Head Hotel.

In the early 1970's Jim was a founder member of the Loughborough & District Housing Association (LDHA), along with Sid Freckelton.

Over the next decades, with the assistance of Government grants the LDHA built thousands of social housing and affordable housing units throughout the Loughborough area.

It was during this time that Jim became the chairman of the Midlands region of the House Builders Federation, advising the Government on liveable housing and environmental policy.

This culminated in the honour of an OBE in 1989.

In retirement Jim remained a keen squash player and tennis player, well into his 80's and an enthusiastic organic gardener.

Having been an avid oarsman in his youth he continued to be an active member of Loughborough Boat Club until late in life.

Jim and Betty also enjoyed travelling, they particularly enjoyed Sanibel in Florida, where he played his guitar in the sunshine, always the main hub of the party Every Friday night for the last 15 years Jim went to The Trawlers Catch Fish and Chip shop on Ashby Road Loughborough, with his ukulele, where he would sing and entertain with up to 20 friends, it was a guaranteed fantastic evening every week.

Jim and Betty travelled around the world to see their children and some of their seven grandchildren, everywhere Jim went, there was always a party "Is Everybody Happy" being a phrase he would shout out, with the chorus response of "You bet your life we are" Jim was on top form, playing his ukulele, entertaining and singing right until the end.

Jim was a lovely, kind husband, father and, grandfather and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

March 19, at 1.30pm at St Bartholomew's Church, Quorn, with Reverend David Bowler presiding.

There will be a reception afterwards at The Quorn Country Hotel.

All are welcome to join to say goodbye to Jim.

CAPTION(S):

Jim MacDiarmid with wife Betty and Fred Billyard

Jim MacDiarmid has passed away peacefully at home on February 24, at 91 years of age.

Jim and Betty MacDiarmid with children Ross and Henrietta.

Pictured right is Jim MacDiarmid with England football legend and World Cup winner, Gordon Banks.
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Publication:Loughborough Echo (Loughborough, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2018
Words:795
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