It with a heavy heart that we have to inform members that Alex Stark, Scottish Section Chairman and long term supporter and honorary member of the Federation, has passed away.
Alex passed away on 13 January 2016 at home in Edinburgh. His final days were spent surrounded by family and friends from throughout his very memorable life.
Alex was always a staunch supporter of Stone Federation; his contribution to its success and profile, especially in Scotland, is incalculable. He always made time to help raise its profile and represent the organisation at the many meetings he was called upon to attend in his role as SFGB Scottish Section Chairman.
Jane Buxey, Stone Federation Chief Executive, added her praise of Alex and said:
“He was an amazing character and always willing to promote the craft of stone masonry and the industry he loved with a passion. He was a great supporter of the Federation and personally, he helped me and gave me his sage advice when needed. We at Stone Federation will miss him and will never see his like again.”
Alex started working as a stone masonry apprentice in 1952 and remained active and influential in the industry and wider built environment throughout his life. He formed Watson Stonecraft Ltd in 1973 and was appointed Managing Director until his retirement in 2002. Watson Stonecraft became Scotland’s largest natural stone contractor, responsible for the construction, care and restoration of some of Scotland’s most significant architectural heritage.
He was the founding Director of Scottish Stone Liaison Group and founding member of the Scottish Traditional Building Forum and always championed the cause of trades, ensuring traditional tools and techniques were valued skills.
Alex was heavily involved in raising the profile of Scotland’s traditional buildings to a wide variety of stakeholders through the Scottish Traditional Building Forum and his involvement ensured that traditional building skills and materials had a high profile within the Scottish Parliament and other stakeholders. He was instrumental in numerous initiatives and influential in the preparation of “Safeguarding Glasgow’s Stone-Built Heritage” which highlighted the condition of Glasgow’s traditional buildings and the skills required to repair and maintain them.
Alex continued this quest by actively raising the issues to stakeholders and using his positive working relationship to develop collaborative approaches to addressing these issues.
During his 61 years’ service to the stone industry (only interrupted by National Service) he gained an irreplaceable degree of knowledge which he happily shared. He had an unfailing degree of fortitude and a willingness to recognise and adapt to change.
Alex had a worthy capacity to listen and respect alternative viewpoints while promoting his own views and had earned universal respect from all his peers in the natural stone industry. He has also left a legacy of successful projects and well qualified and experienced tradesmen, many of whom have gone on to run their own successful companies which carry on his high standards in repairing and maintaining Scotland’s traditional buildings for future generations to enjoy.
Alex will be remembered for a long time for his positive impact on the stone industry.