Sporting tribute to the late Donald Skinner

Donald Skinner.

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The Oban Camanachd Club was deeply saddened to learn of Donald Skinner’s passing in Glasgow on Thursday March 24 at the age of 80 after battling with illness.

Donald was born and brought up in Oban – the Skinners being a long-established and, for a long time, a very prominent family in the town.

In between the wars Donald’s grandfather was without doubt ‘Mr Oban Camanachd’ and was president when the club won the Camanachd Cup in 1938.

Although schooled in Oban, Donald’s family moved to Glasgow in his youth, hence the reason for his shinty career beginning with Glasgow Skye and then, significantly, with Glasgow Mid Argyll.

Donald was a skilful, elegant player and he had a life-time association with GMA.

On his retirement from playing he was a most able administrator on behalf of GMA, the South of Scotland area and then the Camanachd Association, the governing body of shinty, becoming its President and eventually Chieftain. He also received the game’s lifetime achievement award in 2017.

Donald will be remembered, while president, for his feat in successfully negotiating and initiating the Camanachd Association’s long-standing relationship with Glenmorangie, which was shinty’s first commercial sponsorship and a transformative achievement.

For all that he never actually played for Oban Camanachd, Donald’s family’s relationship with the club was such that he was invited and readily accepted the role of chairperson of the club’s Centenary Dinner, which was held in the Corran Halls in 1989.

Donald returned to Oban later in life to set up business as an estate agent under the banner of Skinner Carmichael in Argyll Square, although family ties then saw his return after a few years to Bishopbriggs, where he was resident at the time of his passing.

In the latter part of his life in Oban, Donald was a very popular and successful chairman of the Macaulay Association, the locally-run national shinty competition.

Donald was a huge figure in the shinty world where he will be remembered with great affection for his passion for the game and his enormous contribution to its development. Along with the fact that despite always being firm in his views, he invariably listened to others.

In many ways shinty has eclipsed a great deal of the charitable work Donald did for the town through Hope 2 Oban and other significant unseen contributions, which are hugely appreciated. Although away from the town for a great part of his life, he always remained very much an Obanite.

The thoughts of all concerned with the Oban Camanachd Club and, indeed, the shinty world in general are with Donald’s family at this time.

Donald’s funeral service took place a at St Paul’s Church, Milngavie on Monday April 4, following a private burial earlier at Strathblane Cemetery.

Iain MacIntyre, on behalf of Oban Camanachd.