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'True gentleman' Jim Kinnaird who spent 45 years with Press & Journal dies aged 89

A well-liked and respected Scottish journalist who spent 45 years on the staff of the Press & Journal has died from prostate cancer aged 89.

Jim Kinnaird was born in Peterhead and his family was dealt a tragic blow in 1935 when his father Henry, a plumber, was killed falling from the roof of a house  in Old Deer, leaving his widow Bertha to bring up two young boys – Jim, aged six, and his elder brother Jack, now 91 and living in Mintlaw.

Jim left Peterhead Academy early to join the office staff in Aberdeen  Journals’ Peterhead office on the condition he eventually be considered for a journalistic post.

After two years’ National Service in the Royal Navy, he joined the P&J as a reporter in Aberdeen in 1950, twice serving periods as staff reporter for the Buchan area.

Meanwhile he had married Peterhead lass Mary Leggat in 1953 and they had two daughters – Susan and Jill, and in time, were proud grandparents of Alastair, Lynsey, Calum and Andrew.

Jim returned to Aberdeen in 1961 as a reporter before being promoted as the P&J’s fishing and shipping correspondent. It was a prestigious, challenging  post  as the  P&J, with a circulation approaching 120,000 copies, was recognised as the UK’s leading newspaper in coverage of the global  fishing industry.

Bob Allan, former chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “Jim was a highly competent, skilled journalist… who reported on fishery matters with great clarity and commitment. He clearly relished his involvement with the industry, as it did with him.”

Jim moved to the sub-editors’ desk for a spell before being appointed features editor in 1976 and assistant editor in 1987 – retiring in 1991. The following year Mary retired  – coinciding with Susan and her husband Andrew Kirk buying the Cairn Hotel,  Carrbridge.

The Kinnairds were often in Carrbridge helping the Kirks upgrade the hotel and visiting their two grandchildren, and in 1993 sold their home in Aberdeen, and moved there themselves.

Jim, a DIY enthusiast, helped upgrade the hotel and continued to be a keen gardener. He also became engrossed in sport – golf, indoor and outdoor bowls and curling. He was a founder member of Badenoch Probus Club.

Among those paying tribute to Jim on social media was former Evening Express deputy news editor Neil Horne, who wrote: “A fine journalist and a true gentleman. It was an honour to work with him.”

And broadcaster Frank Gilfeather said: “Jim was one of life’s nice guys with a great sense of humour.”

Jim died unexpectedly during a planned short stay in St Vincent’s Hospital, Kingussie.

There will be a service of  thanksgiving at Carrbridge Church on  Monday 24 September at 1pm following a private cremation.

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