A tribute to Dr Eric Watson Irving

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Dr Eric Watson Irving, born in Campbeltown on January 16 1945, died March 27, 2020

Dr Eric Watson Irving, who died in hospital in Ayr on March 27 aged 75, was a well-known doctor in Fort William and Ayrshire. His sudden, unexpected death has been a shock for family and friends.

Born in Campbeltown to William Black Irving from Tarbert and Mary Clark Watson from Campbeltown, he and brother Anthony went to various schools – first in Campbeltown, then Kilwinning primary and Dalmellington secondary for three years, where his father was the head teacher, before moving to Ayr Academy.

Eric gained his medical degree at the University of St Andrews and Queen’s College, Dundee, beginning his studies in 1963.

On qualifying, Eric undertook medical and surgical residencies in Heathfield and Ayr County Hospitals. It was here his attention was caught by a fair-haired nurse called Lorna and it was not long before they were going out together.

Subsequently Eric was the registrar at Law Hospital, Lanarkshire.

He married Lorna in 1970 and, with their son Lorne, they moved to Fort William. Four years later their daughter Isla was born.

Eric was a partner in Craig Nevis General Practice and he remained a well-loved member of the community where many people relied upon him for his support and compassionate bedside manner. He retired in 1998.

Eric and Lorna moved back to Ayr a year later where he continued to do locum work for several years.

Eric had a keen interest in all types of cars, especially BMWs, and he owned a family Bedford Dormobile. Many a family holiday was spent driving through England, crossing the channel in the Dormobile and camping in the South of France.

After moving back to Ayrshire and in semi-retirement, Lorna and Eric loved to travel. They spent time in Canada, France, Mauritius and, when their daughter moved to Australia, they spent long holidays there, enjoying quality time with their grandchildren.

Eric is remembered as being very sociable with a ‘pawky’ sense of humour and he maintained contact with a range of friends from his Ayr Academy days. He had an abiding interest in Argyll and had many happy memories of carefree holidays spent in Tarbert, Loch Fyne, with his cousins at their grandparents’ home, Heathfield.

Lorna was a keen bird watcher and regularly involved Eric in her hobby. Whilst Eric would never admit to being a birder, he kept up a weekly outing with fellow birdwatchers in Ayr after the passing of Lorna, an activity that has only recently stopped as a result of Covid-19.

Eric was inclusive of all. No matter your background there was always a seat at the table for you. He will be sorely missed.

Lorna died in 2013 and Eric is survived by his son Lorne, in Ayr, his daughter Isla, in Sydney, Australia, and his brother Tony.