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Saturday, May 24, 2014

David Torrie (1941-2014)

David Torrie, who died on Friday 16 May 2014 at the age of 73, spent much of his working life in the juvenile publications department of D. C. Thomson, joining the Dundee-based company in 1961 as a junior sub-editor. He joined the staff of The Dandy, working under its founding-editor Albert Barnes until the latter retired in April 1982. Torrie then became editor until handing on the reins in November 1986 to Morris Heggie. During his 25 years on the title he regularly scripted Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan and Black Bob, the sheepdog, although his favourite character was Brassneck.

Torrie also worked on Beezer, the Dandy Comic Library, Classics from the Comics and the Funsize Beano series, scripting stories featuring Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx as well as writing reports on Scottish League football matches for The Sunday Post.

For fifteen years he was the editor of Thomson's staff journal, The Argus, until he retired from the firm in 2006.

David Lindsay Torrie was born in Forfar in 1941, and was educated at East Primary School; when his family moved to Kirriemuir he attended Webster's High School before earning a place at Edinburgh University.

Outside of comics, Dave Torrie spent almost 40 years as an all-rounder with the Kirriemuir Cricket Club, "batting with vigour and bowling with skill and guile." He shared in the club's many successes, which included winning the Second Division in 1971 and 1972 and winning the Two Counties Cup in 1972, 1973 and 1977. Torrie was awarded the TWL Bell prize for fastest century of the year in 1975 and won the Second Division leading bowling prize in 1979 and 1985.

He was elected to the management committee of the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union in 1969 and held the office of Vice-President in 1980-81 and President in 1982-83. After returning to the role of committee member, he was made Honorary President in 1988, regularly attending meetings until the last few years when ill-health and other commitments made attendance difficult.

Torrie was also a member and one-time President of the Kirriemuir Curling Club and, in 1968, achieved a small measure of fame as a member of the winning team in Grampian TV's Bothy Nichts, entertaining and playing accordion. Other hobbies included stamp and postcard collecting—he was President of the Arbroath Philatelic Society and Tayside Postcard Club—and travelling as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. On one occasion he booked for a tour of the Pictish world which departed from Perth. After a long drive he boarded the bus, only to find that the first stop was Kirriemuir.

He was an active member of the Kirriemuir and Arbroath communities, as chairman of the Kirriemuir Round Table and 41 Club. He was inducted as a member of the Arbroath Guildry in November 2013.

He was recognised as a humorous raconteur and was much in demand as an after-dinner speaker, often giving talks about comics.

Since 1971, Torrie had lived with his brother Graeme at Tarriebank Home Farm, Marywell, near Arbroath. He is survived by his brothers Graeme and Stewart, his sister Hazel and a large extended family.

(* Much of the above information was derived from The Courier (22 May 2014),  Arbroath Herald (20 April 2006) and the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union website; photos are from The Courier and the Dundee Stroke Recovery Club website)

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