A former leading light of the Arbroath Abbey Pageant and founder of the Carnoustie Petanque club has died suddenly at the age of 83
Harry Ritchie was born and raised in Arbroath and educated at Arbroath High School before joining British Rail as a clerk, a post he held for two years until leaving to carry out national service in the RAF.
Strict Scottish police height restrictions meant that Harry was unable to fulfil his ambition to join the force in Scotland and so headed south to join Essex County Constabulary as a traffic patrol car driver.
After leaving the force he embarked on a career in sales in 1960 which took him across the UK working for several national and international firms.
Settling back in Arbroath in the mid 70s with his family, he finally retired at the age of 72.
Passionate about Scottish history in general and Arbroath Abbey in particular, he joined the Arbroath Abbey Pageant Society and played the role Lord Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray.
He joined the Arbroath Abbey World Heritage Campaign which sought to secure Unesco World Heritage site status for Arbroath Abbey as site of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath and played a key role in founding what would become the Arbroath 2020 Group which is organising community celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the signing of the iconic document.
Arbroath 2020 Group chairman, Harry Simpson, paid tribute to Mr Ritchie: “Harry played an invaluable role in promoting Arbroath Abbey and Scotland.
“He was deeply admired by all who knew him and will be sadly missed.”
After the death of his beloved wife Andree in 2015, Harry became interested in the boules sport of Petanque and in 2018 co-founded the Carnoustie Petanque Club which quickly gained popularity.
Harry continued to play the sport until his death.
He is survived by his children Heather and Cameron and grandson Thomas.