Tribute: Dr Eric Watson Irving

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Dr Eric Watson Irving, Doctor, born  January 16, 1945, died March 27, 2020

Dr Eric Irving, who died in Ayr hospital on March 27, at the age of 75, was a well-known doctor in Fort William and Ayrshire. His sudden, unexpected death has been a shock for family and friends.

Born in Campbeltown, to William Black Irving from Tarbert and Mary Clark Watson from Campbeltown, he and brother Anthony went to various schools – Campbeltown PS,  Kilwinning PS and Dalmellington Secondary for three years, where his father was the head teacher. He then moved on to Ayr Academy.

Eric gained his medical degree at St Andrews University and Queen’s College, Dundee, beginning his studies in 1963.

On qualifying, Eric undertook medical and surgical residencies in Heathfield and Ayr County Hospitals.  It was here that his attention was caught by a very attractive fair-haired nurse called Lorna and it was not long before they were going out together on a regular basis. Subsequently Eric was the Registrar at Law Hospital, Lanarkshire.

He married Lorna in 1970 and with son Lorne moved to Fort William Four years later their daughter, Isla was born.

Eric was a partner in Craig Nevis General Practice, and he remained a well-loved member of the community where many people relied upon him for his support and compassionate bedside manner. He retired in 1998.

Eric and Lorna moved back to Ayr a year later where he continued to do locum work for several years.

Eric had a keen interest in all types of cars, especially BMWs, and he owned a family Bedford dormobile. Many a family holiday was spent driving down through England, crossing the channel in the dormobile, and camping in the South of France.

After moving back to Ayrshire and in semi-retirement, Lorna and Eric loved to travel. They spent time in Canada, France, Mauritius, and when their daughter moved to Australia, they spent long holidays there, enjoying quality time with their grandchildren.

Eric is remembered to have been very sociable with a ‘pawky’ sense of humour and he maintained contact with a wide range of friends from his Ayr Academy days. He had an abiding interest in Argyll and many happy memories of carefree holidays spent in Tarbert, Loch Fyne with his cousins at their grandparents’ home, Heathfield.

Lorna was a keen bird watcher and regularly involved Eric in her hobby. Whilst Eric would never admit to being a birder, he kept up a weekly outing with fellow birdwatchers in Ayr after the passing of Lorna, an activity that had only recently stopped due to Covid-19.

Eric was inclusive of all, no matter your background there was always a seat at the table for you. He will be a sorely missed member of the community in Ayr.

Lorna passed away in 2013 and Eric is survived by his son, Lorne in Ayr, his daughter Isla in Sydney, Australia, and his brother, Tony.