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21-06-2011, 10:27 AM #1
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Obituary: The Hon. Jean Cormack (nee Davies). May 1st 1929-June 4th 2011
The world of Atlantic Salmon conservation and angling has lost a long standing and faithful friend.
Jean (Jeannie) Cormack served for many years on the committees, and as a generous volunteer, with both the Atlantic Salmon Trust and The Salmon & Trout Association.
As she said, she was very lucky to have been born into the Davies Family and she was always very proud of her distinguished Welsh roots.
Her Father - like his own Father - was a prominent Liberal supporter (as well as a benign major industrialist and generous, original philanthropist). He was MP for Montgomeryshire between 1906 and 1929 and was also very keen on outdoor pursuits, a passion he imbued in his children.
Jean inherited from her Father her unwavering commitment to Liberal politics, she was, over the years, very active – it would take a brave person to make mention of Margaret Thatcher or Shirley Porter in her presence!
During her childhood, the Family spent much time at Coulin, their Ross-shire estate where Jean’s early enthusiasm for angling was consolidated…
Over the years, she enjoyed access to Helmsdale, Spey, Tay and other prime fishings in her own right, and with her Brothers, The Hon Edward Davies and Hon Islwyn Davies; she was also, for many years, responsible for the stewardship of the Borve Estate on Harris. One of her favourite fishing haunts was on the River Carron at Dounie where she fished every Spring for over 50 years.
It is worth bearing in mind that all of this was at a time during which there were many fewer lady anglers than there are active today, and she was in this vanguard.
A very keen jazz fan, her favourite performers included Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson; Jean was also a very talented mimic and had seriously considered going on the stage in her earlier years, where she would have excelled, had parental disapproval not dissuaded her.
We remember her last fish at Gordon Castle on The Spey – she paced her energies, watching us fish hard all day and then accepted an offer of some assistance to have a ‘last cast’ for the day from our friend George McIntosh who looked after the Lower Water 1 beat.
Wielding a 16’ rod she, of course, didn’t disappoint and hooked a very nice fresh fish! The boat was offered to follow this lively and strong fish – and we were all very firmly put in our place by Jeannie, who said that she had never followed a fish in a boat, and was not about to start now!
This did, indeed, turn out to be her last cast, and last fish…
Vanya Hackel and Michael Wigan