With the recent death of William
Cuthbert, Maybole has lost it last Provost. At his funeral at
Masonhill Crematorium last week, Rev Tom McVicar described him as a
man “who had a great love for Maybole and spent a great deal of his
time working for the betterment of its people”. Bill Cuthbert was
born in Drummellan Street on November 9, 1922; the third son of a
family which through time consisted of five sons and one daughter.
Subsequently, the family moved to Manse Street from
where he attended Cairn Primary School and latterly Carrick Academy
for his secondary education. After he left school, aged 14, he
became an apprentice joiner with Frank Kennedy who had his workshop
at Cassillis Road in the town at that time. Later he worked for
Quentin Wilson, joiners, in Ayr. During that time he was involved in
repairing some of the dreadful damage inflicted on the houses of
Greenock by the German Luftwaffe.
In 1942 Bill joined the RAF and did his basic
training at Weston-Super-Mare. When stationed at Stourbridge in 1943
he met a young WAAF girl called Kaye who was to play a key role in
the rest of his life! Soon after he met Kaye, he was posted to North
Africa and then to Italy. Most of his time as ground crew was spent
in the Naples/Sorrento region in that country.
On February 14, 1946 he and Kaye were married during
a short spell of leave from his duties in Italy. The honeymoon was
short lived as he returned to Italy the following day! Shortly after
his return, Mount Vesuvius erupted and he was involved in assisting
the local population in the aftermath of that momentous event.
After he left the RAF, Bill and Kaye came to live in
Maybole in August 1946. Housing at that time was in short supply and
they lived for a while with Bill’s parents. Jobs then were also hard
to come by, so Bill took work where he could and was involved in the
building of the “Cruden” houses in Whitefaulds Avenue and then
through the auspices of “The Ministry of Works” he went to work in
Gatehouse of Fleet for a spell in 1947.
In 1951 Bill and Kaye moved in to a brand new house
in Mochrum Avenue in Maybole and they lived there ever since. Bill
had periods working with Tom McCreath and Russell Alexander, both
joiners in the town, and later as a works manager with McCracken of
He joined Hay, Steele and McFarlane, a firm of
architects, in the late sixties and worked there as a clerk of works
for 16 years. His last three working years before his retirement in
1987 were spent as a clerk of works with Strathclyde Regional
Bill had a great interest in local politics and was a
member of the Labour Party, joining Maybole Town Council during the
1960s. He served as Provost for two terms; 1969-72 and 1972-75 when
regionalisation saw Maybole Town Council disappear to be replaced by
Kyle and Carrick District Council and Strathclyde Regional Council.
Bill was Maybole’s first councillor on the District Council serving
from 1974-77. After a break, he won the seat again serving from
1980-84. Bill was a board member of the Co-operative Society, a
founder member of Carrick Speakers Club and was also involved with
Maybole Community Council, the Cabin in the Town Hall and Carrick
Housing Association in its early days.
Bill was also instrumental in alterations at Glebe
View along with his son Glen and Tom Corbett for facilities for the
local amateur football team. Rev McVicar said, “Bill worked
tirelessly for the town and many of the benefits we enjoy today are
due to his vision and interest. These include the swimming pool,
housing, traffic lights to name but a few.” During their married
life Bill and Kaye enjoyed holidays abroad and in particular they
visited Italy many times. Unknown to many, Bill was almost fluent in
Italian which could be brought on by a couple of whiskies!
They visited many parts of Europe and also had two
holidays in Russia including a visit to Georgia. Their other main
pastimes were a visit to the Speakers Club with their friends on a
Saturday night, the bowls in the Town Hall and the welfare of the
old folks of the town. Both Bill and Kaye were involved with the
local OAP Association and both were chosen as Citizen of the Year -
Kaye in 1994 and Bill in 1995. Bill was also the first person the
community council presented with a special medallion embossed with
the town's coat of arms.
In his latter years, Bill had also developed an
interest in researching his family history. “Recently,” said Rev
McVicar, “he had a fall which led to a hip operation and
complications which placed him in the Biggart Hospital for 10 weeks.
The complications were to develop, which led to a time of suffering.
“He found that difficult as he drove his own car till he was 85,
going to Culzean, Maidens, Ballantrae and beyond.
Concluding, the minister added, “We give thanks to
God for one who sought to serve his fellow man above and beyond his
own interests.” Bill is survived by his wife Kaye, his sons Ian,
Glen and Brian, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.