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Significant Scots
Sir William Gordon Cumming

Sir William and Lady Sheila CummingSIR William Gordon Cumming, Baronet of Altyre and Gordonstoun and Chief of Clan Cumming, died peacefully at his home, Altyre House, Forres, on Thursday 10th Jan 2002 after illness.

Sir William, who was born in 1928, returned to live on and run Altyre Estate in the early 1950s, after service with the Royal Scots Greys. An astute countryman, the extensive estates were his abiding interest throughout his life.

Sir William was particularly interested in silviculture, as evidenced not only by his development of the estate's extensive forestry, but also by his chairing of various bodies, including Scottish Woodlands. Sir William was a committed Moray County councillor until reorganisation in the 1970s, and a keen member of the Forres St Lawrence Cricket Club.

His particular skills as a celebrated sportsman, who excelled at shooting, fishing and stalking, bore fruit in his latter years as an outstanding conservationist. A vital participator in the restoration of ospreys in Scotland, Sir William also played leading roles in the re-introduction of capercaillie, the conservation of salmon - in particular with the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Trust (Scotland) and as chairman of the Findhorn District Fishery Board -and latterly in the re-introduction of wild boar. His quick eye and innate instinct bore the hall marks of an exceptional naturalist - also expressed in his love of painting.

An immensely modest man, many of his achievements were both unseen and understated, but are nevertheless significant to Moray in general and the River Findhorn in particular.

Sir William, who was married three times, is survived by Sheila, Lady Gordon Cumming, three daughters, and is succeeded to the Baronetcy of Altyre and Gordonstoun by his son, Alastair.

Many thanks to David W. Cummings, Clan Cumming Society, USA for the above tribute.

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