Thursday, March 28, 2024

Farewell Murd Dunbar

Murd Dunbar was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, a friend, a proud Shankie, a custodian of the riverside and many other things as well. But one of the main things that Murdoch Ross Dunbar was was that he was a thrawn old bugger. I'm sure that many folk within organisations such as the Highland Council and Community Councils, rued the day that Murd learnt how to use a computer and got loose on the internet. I bet you there was many a morning when some Councillor or Official opened up their Inbox and spotted an email from Murd Dunbar and then cried silently to themselves, “oh no, it's him again!”.

Murd was determined, he was tenacious, persistent, dogged, he didn't give up as many people would have done when multiple obstacles and broken promises were chucked back at him in response to his many causes and campaigns. He was never one to be fobbed off just because someone said “No, can't do that”. Dealing with officials he was a bit like Islay and Belle in the case that you can throw a ball or a stick as far away as possible but I'll be back, I'll take it back, I'll stand at your door, your door of bureacracy. His modus operandi was keep on gurning until they do something, something he lived by even in his final weeks.

He made Community Council meetings interesting, in many way's he was their nemesis, they would have their cosy agenda and he would come along and rock their wee boat. He had his opinions and views and if you didn't agree with them, tough, he just ignored them and carried on regardless.

Murd worked on many fronts and people used to go to him with issues which he would then raise at meetings or via the Gurn or the Nairnshire. He cared about our community and he set an example by sometimes doing the things that the authorities had neglected; repairing and painting benches, salting the bridges and clearing the leaves and, of course, he occasionally had something to say about the Firhall Bridge! I often feel that he was more value than some of those that are paid handsomely to represent the community to sort things out. Personally, I think he was much more in touch with folk than many of the various representatives. He got off his backside and got on with it.

Of course, Murd made use of the information super highway in other ways by highlighting issues on social media – he was a campaigner for houses to be built for the town’s young people among other things. Murd cared, he knew that a community ignores the needs of the young at its peril.

He was a contributor to the Gurn in its heyday. Our Riverside and Queenspark correspondent and often lots of other stuff. Any message left on the answerphone always went the same way, “Hi Des, Murd here, here, listen, and then there would follow something along the lines of I've just sent you, run it by you, see what you think”....

And it’s all there, the Gurn has been a bit quieter the last couple of years but if you put Murd Dunbar in the search box you’ll have a few hours reading material that will come up. The hospital bus stop, the state of the riverside paths, the state of the benches, the Firhall Bridge!

Murd, in his own way was an innovator, someone who did things before other people. He embraced his electric bikes and many a time he, tinkered. You would often see him coming hurtling towards you around the river on his bike, feet out, coming to a stop because the brakes just weren't quite working properly at that moment but that never stopped him. The craic was tremendous, pure Nairn born and bred, a priceless way of looking at the world and sharing his wisdom.

So Murd, wherever you are now I hope you're standing at that door giving them what for and not going away – just like the time an MP seeking re-election came to Queenspark with a TV camera crew and his assistants – they chose the right door that day!

They all came to him, the politicians, the high heid yins, the officials. He never asked them to but his sheer force of nature meant they knew better then ignore him.

When it’s time to put the festive decorations on your tree up the river at the end of the year, I’ll be there to raise a dram to you and the well-lived life that was yours, your achievements and your impact that made our community a better place.

Here’s to you Murd, all the best!

Soraidh slàn a charaid, clach air do chàirn.