Family pays tribute to Corby's '˜Mr Scotland'

The family of Corby's '˜Mr Scotland' have spoken of his love for the town he called home since 1955.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:01 pm
John Douglas outside The Cube in Corby

John Douglas was born in Glasgow but moved to Corby with his first wife Betty more than 60 years ago and went on to raise thousands of pounds for various charities, groups and individuals in the town.

He was proud of his Scottish roots and the 91-year-old became well-known for his fundraisers as well as hosting many Burns Night celebrations.

But sadly the former steelworker, who often wrote letters to be printed in the Northants Telegraph as John Lobb Douglas, died on December 19.

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His second wife, also called Betty, said: “When he first arrived in Corby, that was when he started his charity work.

“He did 25 years of charity work.

“He collected for so many charities, we couldn’t name them all.”

Son Alan Douglas added: “On his very first day in the town, he was collecting for Corby Town Football Club.”

The Highland Gathering was another reason Mr Douglas was so well-known in Corby.

Betty said: “He did the Highland Gathering for 25 years and was on the committee.

“But he retired on the 25th anniversary because he was getting old and he thought the anniversary was a nice time to retire.”

He wrote a book on the gathering and also kept numerous files of newspaper cuttings and photographs from the various events he was involved with over the years.

Ahead of the opening of Corby’s Heritage Centre, Mr Douglas told the then Evening Telegraph: “I’m delighted we have an opening date for the heritage centre which will be vital in preserving the town’s fascinating history for future generations.

“I am privileged to have been able to supply material for the heritage centre about the steelworks and the Highland Gathering.”

Mr Douglas was very proud of Corby’s Scottish heritage and Alan said: “He did a lot of Burns Nights, he did those everywhere in Corby.

“And he addressed the biggest haggis in the world at Corby’s Asda.”

Mr Douglas also loved singing and regularly organised fundraisers and entertainment with music and dancing.

Son Martin said: “He was known as Corby’s Andy Stewart.”

And Alan, who has inherited their father’s kilt, said his dad loved the Corby Song written by Johnny Mack.

Alan said: “It’s a great song.

“He used to sing it for charity, he loved that.

“The song was written for him.”

Mr Douglas once auditioned for Opportunity Knocks, and Betty added: “He was quite shy, but not when he was entertaining.”

As well as his love of entertaining, he was a toastmaster at events and weddings, involved in the Charter Fair and appeared on The One Show several years ago to talk about the steelworks.

And Betty added: “He got quite a few awards, including an award from St John Ambulance for services rendered for furthering the work of the Order.

“He was also awarded a plaque from Corby Borough Council with ‘deeds not words’ on it.”

Aside from the fundraising and entertainment, Mr Douglas loved gardening and had 11 grandchildren as well as 12 great-grandchildren.

Alan said his father’s passion was Burns Night, and he added: “He was always bright and always made you laugh, he was always upbeat.”

Mr Douglas’ funeral is taking place at 2.30pm on January 10 at the Albert Munn Chapel at Kettering Crematorium.