Monday 20th January 2014 saw the funeral of Sam Macarthur Nairn at Auldearn Parish Church having passed away peacefully at the age of 83 at Bruach House Care Home Nairn on Tuesday the 14th January 2014. He was predeceased by his wife Elizabeth (Betty) in 2005 after 50 years of happy marriage and leaves three sons Eric, David & Douglas.
His main sporting hobby was curling. Sam as he was known to us in the curling world was a legend from the Ardclach Curling Club and was well respected on the ice as a great curler and a great friend. For his mother club he served as secretary, treasurer, president and, ultimately, Honorary President. Sam was a highly respected player both on and off the ice, travelling extensively throughout Scotland and Europe taking part in competitions of the highest level.
Sam was President of Moray Province 1978-1981 and was in 2001 awarded his 50 years membership medal from the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
I met Sam on the Ice 46 years ago when Aviemore was the first indoor curling rink north of Perth. He was no greenhorn then at indoor curling so he must have travelled to the central belt for many years before he could show such skills on indoor ice in the early days of curling at Aviemore Ice Rink
He was a member of a rink at that time with some infamous north curlers, skipped by his brother Big Dave Mid Fleenas Ardclach, Dennis South Lynwilg Farm Aviemore and Jimmy Cattell from Balspardon Farm Dalcross and I can tell you that rink were feared by all that came up against them whether in competition for their ability but also feared in social curling as there was no way you were going to beat them up in the bar either.
Sam never on or off the ice had a “past time” he always had a passion for whatever he did and whatever he did had to be done right, whether by himself or delegated to someone in his phone book, mind you in saying that Betty was his steering wheel in his haulage business from 1955, which he ran successfully until 1990 but she could not keep up with his curling commitments they were all in Sam’s head as instant decisions had to be taken if the call came for a game.
The highlight of his competitive curling career was reaching the finals of the Scottish Curling Championships on three occasions.
Out with his business and curling commitments Ex Provost Sam Macarthur was ONE of Scotland’s most successful Shetland pony breeders, and he was a member of the Shetland Pony Society since the early 1970s.
As a breeder, he won many titles, notably Shetland champion and reserve overall heavy horse at the Royal Highland Show in 1988. In 1993, he also won the St John Wells’ pairs inter-breed title.
Sam bred Passionate of St Ninian, which went on to be World Shetland Pony Champion in 1989, shown by Yann Calvet, at Toures, in France.
Judging ponies took Sam all over Scotland and several European countries and he placed a record entry of 125 ponies at the Highland Show in 1995. But, the pinnacle of his judging career was selecting the Highland’s overall heavy horse inter-breed in 2000 and again, his last judging appointment, in 2012 at Ingliston.
Sam was a stalwart member of the Nairnshire Farming Society since the early 1950’s and in appreciation of local farmers’ loyal support throughout the year; he transported their livestock to and from the Nairn Show free of charge.
In later years, Sam became chief horse steward, running a very strong section and he was awarded an honorary membership of the Nairnshire Farming Society in 2010 for his many years of dedicated service.
He was also a founder member of the Nairn branch of Arthritis Care, later holding the post of the charity’s national chairman for five years.
Sam will be missed but never forgotten by his National & International circle of friends
Good Curling Sam