William Danskin, the last of the Danskin Transport dynasty of Strathkinness, has died aged 77.
For most of the last three decades, since the death of his mother Grace, William lived a quiet existence in the village.
He had learning difficulties and relied on his loyal carer Helen Ritchie, and friend William Drummond.
“He led a life of struggle and was a valiant man as well as a charming man,” said Helen.
When William’s mother died in the early 1990s, he found himself alone in a large house and without the life skills to thrive.
William’s father had died in a car crash when he was 21 and his brother David was killed in similar circumstances when he was 26.
His appearance indicated he was having difficulty looking after himself after his mother’s death. William struggled on until 1997 when Helen Ritchie entered his life.
She had been a former police officer in Edinburgh and a social worker when a solicitor in Cupar suggested she might consider being his carer.
Helen agreed to take on the task for a year but remained his carer for 25 years.
Despite his learning difficulties, William had always taken an interest in the vehicles of what was once his family’s huge transport concern.
His friend William Drummond took him to trucking festivals at Ingliston while Helen took him to Dover to see lorries roll on and off ferries.
William Danskin was born in 1944 to Magnus and Grace Danskin.
Magnus had been born in Fish Wynd, Kirkcaldy, where his father had been a pitheadman. His mother, Grace Allister Graham, had been born to a Luthrie farming family and had been educated at Dundee High School.
Magnus and Grace founded the Danskin firm when they bought a lorry and a shovel to carry out council gritting contracts.
They built it up into one of Scotland’s major haulage concerns with a distribution warehouse in Cupar and contracts with Guardbridge papermill, Kellogs and the Pedigree pet food company among others.
William learned to drive at a very young age and became an expert at roping and sheeting lorries and operating pallet trucks.
Helen said: “His father died in a road accident in 1965 and David was left in charge of the firm. He was a go-getter but he died in 1971.”
End of Danskin Transport
After his mother’s death the Danskin firm, whose lorries had been a familiar sight around Scotland, was dissolved.
In the 1990s, William moved from the large family home to a smaller bungalow.
Both Helen and William Drummond introduced variety to his life by taking him on trips to, Edinburgh, Paris and London and to theatres and cinemas.
“He had all these difficulties yet always remained gracious” said Helen.
William Danskin’s death notice can be read here.