Tribute to Dennis Ferguson Collins        who died on 15th July 2017

The Address given by Sheriff John P. Herald to honour Dennis during the Service of Remembering on Thursday 27th July in Dundee Congregational Church.

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Some months ago I was honoured and humbled when Dennis asked me to speak at his service of remembering.   I had of course hoped that it would be some years before I would need to do this.   Sadly this was not to be.   Please bear with me as I am going to find this difficult.

 

In May 1970 a young solicitor from Glasgow presented himself at 30 Whitehall Street.   So began my long and pleasant association with Dennis.   We were partners for 21 years but for 47 years we have been friends.   During these 47 years I have relied on Dennis for advice and guidance and he never once complained about me contacting him.   He became in effect my second father.

 

Dennis was the perfect example of the Scottish solicitor.   He was admitted in 1957.   He was the true man of business.   It did not matter if you were the lady from Lochee wanting to make a simple will or one of his many multi-national business clients you were treated in the same way with courtesy and diligence.   He treated his staff with courtesy and dignity and was adored and respected by them.

 

In 1960 Dennis was invited to become a part-time lecturer at St. Andrews University and he remained in that post for 19 years eventually of course at Dundee University.   If you speak to anyone in the profession who graduated from Dundee they remember Dennis with great affection.

 

Dennis was of course recognised by the members of his profession being appointed Dean of the Faculty of Procurators and Solicitors in Dundee in 1987 and made an honorary Sheriff in 1988.   Dennis was particularly proud of the fact that the firm of which he was senior partner produced 4 sheriffs.

 

Another proud moment for Dennis was when he was appointed Honorary Consul for France in 1976.   He held that appointment for 20 years.   This was particularly appropriate as Dennis and the family spent many holidays in France starting with Dennis and Elspeth`s honeymoon in Nice in 1961.   The French flag flew proudly over Whitehall Street although on one occasion when a man came into the office and said he wanted to buy the flag I had to explain to Dennis the significance of the colours to supporters of a certain Glasgow football team!

 

Dennis was a proud Dundonian.   He lived his whole life in Dundee and devoted his professional life in serving its citizens.  He was the honorary Secretary of the Dundee Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children for 28 years.   Since 2005 he has been joint Chairman of Lord Armitstead`s Dundee Trust responsible for the distribution of income to Dundee schools and charities.   His service to Dundee was recognised when he became a Guild Brother and Assessor of the Incorporation of the Guildry of Dundee and during that time he was Guild Clerk and Archivist.

 

Bur perhaps the biggest contribution that Dennis made is in respect of the building we are in today.   Formerly known as Ward Chapel and now Dundee Congregational Church Dennis has been its treasurer since 1966.   He was christened in this building as were his children and grandchildren and it has always played a large part in the life of his family.   As recently as a couple of months ago he told me he was working on a new constitution for the church.   He will be sorely missed by the congregation.

 

 

Dennis had many outside interests.   He was a renowned philatelist and was a member of the Dundee and District Philatelic Society since 1946.   He was President of the Society from

1974 to 1977 and made an Honorary Member in 1998.  He was President of the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies and a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of London.  He liked old pillar boxes and even collected a few!

 

His abiding passion was history particularly local history and was a member of several historical societies.   He was of course a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society – who could forget those sideburns!

 

In addition Dennis loved his garden first of all at Stirling House and latterly at Stirling Lodge

where he landscaped the garden.

 

But for all his many and varied interests the main love of his life was his family.   He married his childhood sweetheart Elspeth in 1961 and she was the rock on which he relied particularly in these last few difficult months.   He was immensely proud of his children Catriona and Ross and of Gerry and Lindsay.   The apples of his eye were his grandchildren Lucy, Alastair, Fergus and Fiona.   They are the ones who will miss him most and we extend to them our sympathy and support.

 

Dennis it was a privilege to know you.   You were a man of great dignity and courage and we will all miss you.   Goodbye and thank you.   I hope I have done justice to your memory.  God bless you.

We are located at:

 

Dundee Congregational Church
6-8 Constution Road

Dundee

DD1 1LY

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