Tribute: Walter Scott McConnell O.B.E

Scott registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society after studying at the Royal College, Glasgow, known as ‘The Tech’, which is now Strathclyde University. After qualifying and working as a locum, he undertook his national service in Kenya with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

On returning to Scotland, he joined his father’s pharmacy business, McConnell Pharmacy, in Hurlford, near Kilmarnock. Robert McConnell had opened the pharmacy in 1926 and, with Scott’s efforts, it grew to four community pharmacies in the Irvine Valley, which remained in the family until February 2020, with Scott’s daughter, Morag, a third-generation pharmacist.

Scott was well respected by his colleagues — a measure of this being that some staff remained loyal to the pharmacy business for more than 40 years. Several members of staff recall him visiting all four pharmacies every Christmas Eve, armed with a basket of drinks, and every staff member was thanked for their efforts and wished all the best. Many still happily reminisce about the day trip for staff, past and present, on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the business, to Loch Katrine in the Trossachs, Stirling, for an outing on the steamship ‘Sir Walter Scott.

Scott was active in local and national committees, and was held in the highest regard by the wider pharmacy community. While running the four pharmacies, and as a director of Ayrshire Pharmaceuticals — a wholesaler he established with fellow independent pharmacists — he represented pharmacy on various committees at Ayrshire and Arran Health Board, and was chairman of the Pharmaceutical General Council (Scotland), now Community Pharmacy Scotland. His contribution to the profession was recognised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society when he was awarded a Fellowship in 1986.

Scott had many interests away from pharmacy, including curling and golf, and relished every opportunity to spend time with his wife, Liz, and family on the Isle of Arran. He was active in his local community of Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, and served on the parole board review committee at Dungavel Prison, which involved visiting many of Scotland’s prisons to attend hearings. It was for this work that he was awarded an O.B.E. in 1989.

Sadly, Liz, his beloved wife of 56 years, died in August 2020. Both Scott and Liz will be remembered with affection, for their caring service, commitment and warm friendship, by all who have had the privilege to work for McConnell Pharmacy.

Our thoughts are shared with Beth, Morag, Robbie, Katy and families.

Former colleagues, McConnell Pharmacy

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2021, Vol 306, No 7947;306(7947)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.51826

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