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Much-loved ‘generous and gentle’ grandfather passes away after tragic accident at home – Largs and Millport Weekly News

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A MUCH-LOVED grandfather has passed away after a tragic accident inside his Fairlie home.

Bill Thomas, 70, was putting a bulb into a light fitting on the top floor of his Bay Street home when he fell off his stepladder, went over the landing and landed on the floor below.


Paramedics attended at the scene but sadly he died shortly after.

His wife Elizabeth today paid tribute to her ‘gentle and generous’ husband who she described as a devoted family man.

She said: “You would never see Bill in an argument.

“He was a very gentle and generous person and always liked to keep busy. Bill wasn’t loud or flamboyant, He was very modest.

“He was in a very high powered job and retired at the age of 55. You can’t look back at any part of Bill’s life that wasn’t good. He lived life to the full, it just shouldn’t have ended like this.

“Bill really enjoyed computers and studying his family tree, he had lots of hobbies and was incredibly popular.

“He loved family life and we recently had a recent big family get together in Lanzarote, which was one of his favourite places.”

Born in Plymouth, Bill’s father was in the army and stationed in Gibraltar, resulting in him travelling abroad at a young age and attending boarding school.

After returning to the Scotland, Bill excelled in chemistry at Glasgow University and it was there he met Elizabeth and they were married at Fairlie Parish Church 47 years ago.

They moved to Sandwich in Kent where he initially carried out research before becoming director of materials management at pharmaceutical firm Pfizer. All drug manufacturing was carried out at Pfizer’s main base in the UK and Bill regularly travelled out to the company’s headquarters in America.

Elizabeth, who worked a special needs teacher before retiring, told how they fell in love with their property in Bay Street after first using it for short holidays while down south.

She said: “It just felt like home and we have been very happy here.”

A member of Mensa, Bill was passionate about photography and genealogy and also enjoyed playing golf

Elizabeth added: “He had so many interests. He loved going out with his metal detector and even volunteered to take part in historic digs in England as part of the television show Time Team.”

He was a member of the Fairlie Frogs and met commonly with fellow members for lunch, and was also a passionate ‘foodie’. He was also fascinated by Greek and Roman history and regularly journeyed abroad on fact finding missions.

The couple have two grown up children – Alex and Sarah – and four grandchildren, whom he doted on.

Both Bill and Elizabeth greatly enjoyed the Waverley and were also involved helping out at the Messy Church monthly events in Fairlie.

Daughter Alex said: “Because he moved around a lot when he was younger, my dad didn’t really have roots, but he loved living in Scotland and would wear tartan at family weddings.”

Elizabeth added: “He also helped out with research for the Friends of the Firth of Clyde group and was a great supporter of all the terrific work they do.

“We are very sad. It was a real shock. The paramedics were very quick and did everything they could.

“We have also had some great help from our neighbours and we would like to thank everyone for all the support we have received at this very sad and difficult time.

“Bill will be much missed. He was a lovely gentle character, someone who just loved his family.”

Bill’s funeral service and a celebration of his life will take place at Fairlie Parish Church tomorrow morning (Thursday).

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