|With the death of Peter Durie on 2 March 2010, Wrington has lost one of the finest men any of us could wish to have known.
Into his eighty-four years Peter packed an astonishing number of careers and achievements. Born on
New Year's Day 1926, he was the son of a gunner, and with his father's military career taking him to various places Peter did not go to school till he was eight. However, this did not hold back his prospects, and after achieving success in academic and especially sporting pursuits at Fettes College Peter entered the Army in 1943.
There he shone, rising through the ranks at the fastest possible rate. One particular incident in 1951 stands out when, as the citation for his George Medal says, "A Signal Sergeant's life was saved due entirely to the prompt and very gallant action taken by Captain Durie.
There can be little higher praise than to say of a person that he was prepared to risk his own life to save a comrade's. This tribute can be very worthily paid to Capt Durie".
Peter continued to rise rapidly through the Army, earning the MBE for his service as a Brigade Major in Cyprus during the EOKA troubles. But his first wife had become ill, so it was time for career number two, and Peter joined the Courage Brewing Company, becoming the Chairman and MD of Courage Western. He also found time to become a Samaritan, and a Governor of the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables in Putney (where my brother was a patient until his death).
This influenced Peter's next career move, when the Government set up the NHS Trusts in 1989. After he retired from Courage, and with his Putney experience behind him, Peter became the first Chairman of the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust.
One project that exhibits his exceptional gifts for organising and motivating people was his key role in
the building of Bristol Children's Hospital, the first purpose-built children's hospital in the UK. For his
work he was awarded the OBE.
In addition to his other achievements Peter was a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Somerset, Master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Bristol University, and very involved in the region's charitable works. However, in this village we knew him, of course, as a devoted family man, a wonderful neighbour, and a deeply committed Christian, taking on the Chairmanship of All Saints' PCC until his final illness caused his retirement.
We all extend our sincere condolences to his wife Constance and beloved family. There will be a
Thanksgiving Service for his life at Bristol Cathedral at 2.30pm on Monday, 26 April. Arrangements will be made for sharing transport and for lifts for those who need them. The family has requested that there be no flowers. Instead, donations are invited for one of the fruits of Peter's life, The Grand Appeal for Bristol Children's Hospital, c/o The Co-operative Funeralcare, 20 High Street, Westburyon-Trym, Bristol BS9 3DU.