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Surprise 90th birthday party: Alastair Allan of Angus served as RAF recruiter and Dundee English teacher

Alastair Allan  celebrated his 90th birthday with wife Anne at home in Forfar.
Alastair Allan celebrated his 90th birthday with wife Anne at home in Forfar.

A retired RAF flight lieutenant and Dundee High School teacher was treated to a surprise 90th birthday party at his home in Forfar.

Alastair Allan, who served in the RAF from 1950 to 1970 before retraining as an English teacher, was surprised by a piper and a gathering of supporters from the veterans community.

The surprise party was organised by Peter Kerr, veterans community support coordinator with the Royal British Legion Scotland.

Alastair’s wife Anne,74, told The Courier: “It was difficult for me to keep it quiet from him.

Alastair Allan celebrated his 90th birthday with wife Anne

“But I had to say something so that we could get him down the stairs.

“He’s not disabled as such, but he doesn’t get about the same. He thoroughly enjoyed himself.”

Varied career

Born in Edinburgh on March 15, 1932, Alastair left school and went into banking.

He’s a member of the Associate Institute of Bankers for Scotland.

He joined the RAF through National Service, but stayed on as a regular for 20 years.

Flight Lieutenant Allan was posted to Egypt, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

At the end of his career in the RAF he was recruiting officer for Scotland in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

When he left the RAF in 1970, he went to Dundee University to study for a degree before going into teacher training.

Alastair Allan has turned 90

He was an English teacher at Harris Academy from 1974 to 1985.

While there, he was the boys’ housemaster for Kinloch.

Then from 1985 to 1997, he taught English at Dundee High School where he was the sixth form master.

Met at ballroom dancing

In 1996, he married Anne after they met at ballroom dancing in Lochee.

Both had been married before.

Alastair has a family of four children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren, while Anne has a family of three children, 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Last year they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Alastair Allan celebrated his 90th birthday with wife Anne

Befriending service

Anne said her husband had benefitted greatly from Unforgotten Forces – a consortium of 15 organisations who support veterans.

Alastair was referred to Legion Scotland Veteran Community Support – part of Unforgotten Forces – by a third party who identified that Alastair was isolated and lonely.

He was matched with support volunteer Rev. Brian Dingwall, also from Edinburgh, who was amongst those who attended the birthday celebration.

Anne added: “It’s amazing how the two of them seem to click together.

“As young boys they grew up in Edinburgh together.

“They didn’t know each other. But they are now recounting days and streets they played in. Brian is a lovely person. I think he enjoys coming to visit.”

Alastair Allan celebrated his 90th birthday with wife Anne (74) at home in Forfar, with Peter Kerr (Forfar Legion), Carole Martin (Sight Veterans Scotland), Brian Dingwall (befriender), piper Dave Myles, Charlie Brown (Legion President), Margaret Brown (Legion Chairwoman) & Esther Dingwall (befriender)

Peter Kerr said that while Unforgotten Forces is a consortium of 15 organisations who support veterans, Legion Scotland branches support members.

“Alastair is as a rule isolated to his upstairs room due to mobility issues, but he is as sharp as a button,” he said.

“The matching of Alastair with the retired reverend appears to be a marriage made in heaven!”

“They both get on like a house on fire which is story within itself!”

Establishment of Unforgotten Forces

Unforgotten Forces was established in 2017 with a three- year grant of £4 million from the HM Treasury through the Aged Veterans Fund.

This made possible a range of new services, and enhancements to existing services, to better meet the health and wellbeing needs of veterans in Scotland.

Alastair Allan

Beneficiaries had to be 65 and over during the first three years before this was reduced to 60 and over.

In October 2020 the Scottish Government replaced the Aged Veterans Fund (latterly known as the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust) as funder of the Unforgotten Forces partnership.

The role of lead and co-ordinating partner was transferred from Poppyscotland to Age Scotland.

The Unforgotten Forces consortium continues to demonstrate collaboration between armed forces and civilian charities to deliver high quality and joined-up support that boosts the health and wellbeing of veterans in Scotland age 65 and older.

Legion Scotland are proud to be part of this collaboration and have a dedicated team of head office staff, veterans community support co-ordinators and support volunteers across Scotland who assist veterans.

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