Farewell Brian Murdoch

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A message from the Chairman of the SS Explorer Preservation Society

 Brian Murdoch

It is with a very heavy heart that I must let you know that our good friend, Brian Murdoch has died.

Following a period where he struggled against a form of blood cancer he succumbed to an infection he was unable to withstand and died in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh on the 5th September. Brian is survived by Sabine his dear wife and three wonderful children.

Brian became interested in the SSEPS almost by accident in that he’d read about someone who had canoed round Scotland in a craft called Explorer which was due in Leith. He made enquiries about this voyage and found out that the SS Explorer also lay up in Leith. On making its acquaintance and seeing around its triple expansion steam engine, its ancillary systems and probably, most of all, hearing about its history, was intrigued and fascinated about the ship and most passionate about its survival.

Brian immediately became a member of the SSEPS but was not content, however, to just chip and paint. He was more intent on building an organisation capable of turning our great ship into something that we, in Scotland and Leith, could be proud of. He realised that if we were to move the project forward we needed to build a sustainable organisation: his phrase was ‘the Explorer has to have the ability to wash its own face’ – it needed to be self-sustaining.

Brian became part of the Board of Directors in 2016 and worked tirelessly producing materials to take the project forward along with, most importantly, creating a structure of support for those of us who were new to a project of this magnitude. His steadying hand on the tiller and ability to be critical in the kindliest manner built a confidence in the team which has allowed us to take his vision forward. I was privileged to spend many hours with him and enjoy his vision and his particular form of humour – he loved a wee dry chuckle!!

Although Brian gave up his directorship on the board in the spring this year he very much kept in touch with what was going on on the ship and whenever he was able, he came on-board to chat with the crew and spend time seeing what was happening. I spoke to him on several occasions during his illness and kept him up to date with the progress on the Explorer. He was always full of suggestion, support and just loved to hear of progress – ‘that’s really good news, keep it coming’ was what he said to me. It seemed that even in his deepest moments all he wanted was the best and I think this really is the measure of this good man – Brian Murdoch.

I last spoke to Brian a fortnight ago and he said I ought to try a dram of his favourite ‘Shackleton’ whisky. Brian, I’ve a dram in my hand and I salute and miss you dreadfully.

Andy Marjoribanks – Chairman SSEPS

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