Tributes have been paid to Norman Macarthur of Carloway, known as ‘Am Brot’, who passed away yesterday at Western Isles Hospital after a long illness. He was 81.
Norman was well-known for his many years work at Stornoway Shipping Services (SSS), where he described himself as ‘No 6 – left half’ working alongside his nephew and successor Alastair Macarthur until his unofficial retirement in 2018.
In his role as SSS he helped negotiate the arrival into Stornoway Port of cruise ships, heavy cargo vessels and visiting tall ships, meeting captains and crewmen and handling situations from medical evacuations to passenger disembarkation with calm and dry humour.
He established Stornoway Shipping Services on the pier-side at 3 South Beach in 1994, after years as a civil servant, working with the then Ministry of Labour in Portree. He later returned to Lewis to work as a shipping agent in Stornoway with the long established Lloyds Agency firm of Duncan Maciver Ltd where he subsequently became general manager.
The offices of SSS became a town-based shrine to Carloway Football Club, who this morning described Norman as ‘a significant figure in our history.’
In a social media statement the club said: “Everyone at Carloway Football Club would like to express their condolences to the family and friends of Norman ‘Am Brot’ Macarthur following his sad passing yesterday.
“Am Brot is one of the club’s best ever players and a significant figure in our history. He was brought up in James Street overlooking the Carloway pitch and a lifetime love affair with the club started when he made his debut in the early 1950’s.
“Staying in the school hostel in town, he played for the Nicolson Institute in the league but was able to play for Carloway in the cups and was a key figure in the club winning their first trophies, the D’Oyle Carte, Tormod Mor and Stornoway Cup, that decade.
“Am Brot went on to serve the club brilliantly as a committee member, sponsor and supporter through good and bad. He took great delight in the club’s recent successes and the trophies all made their way to his office with Alastair at Stornoway Shipping.
“We will remember him for his warmth, friendship, humour and his amazing commitment to our football club.”
Former chief executive of Stornoway Port Authority John J Maclennan was a friend for over 50 years. He told welovestornoway.com today: “I was greatly saddened to learn that our old friend, colleague and mentor, Norman "Brot" Macarthur had passed away peacefully.
“With his intimate knowledge of the shipping world and numerous contacts it was no surprise that Stornoway Shipping became the principal shipping agent in Stornoway. Throughout my years at Stornoway Harbour I learned much from Norman and was never averse to taking words of wise counsel and advice from him.
“He was a word smith in both Gaelic and English and had an extremely fine legal brain when it came to analysing legal and contractual documents. Above all I found him to be a man of total integrity and honesty both in business and personally.
“The island has lost one of its great characters and he will be sadly missed from the harbour, town and island.”
Stornoway Shipping Services said yesterday that the flag would be flying at half-mast for a week as a tribute to his passing.
Our condolences go to Norman’s widow Annie Flora, daughter Malvene, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, sister Dolly Anne and all family and friends.
The funeral will be on Wednesday at the Free Church Continuing in Sandwick, with the service at 11am service and the lift at 11.30am, followed by interment at Dalmore cemetery.
Norman is pictured at the office of Stornoway Shipping Services, demonstrating his love for his club and showing off the Acres Boys Club trophy, won by Carloway FC in 2016.