01 February 2010
Ian M Heddle 1923-2010
It is with great sadness that we report the death in the past week of Ian Heddle, Honorary President of the Orkney Heritage Society.
“Ian Magnus Heddle was born 29 May 1923. His father was an Orcadian who had gone to England to work. He died when Ian was still at school and he was sent to a Masonic boarding school. After school he served his time as a carpenter with his Mother's family's building firm.
Always interested in radio he volunteered for the RAF at the start of the War, as soon as he was old enough so that he could get involved in Wireless. He trained as an RAF wireless mechanic and the war saw him servicing wirelesses on RAF HS rescue launches. While a corporal he met his first wife, Margot, who was a sergeant in stores. He was posted to India and then Burma. They married Post War and they had two boys.
Every summer the family continued their pre-war visit to see their Orkney relations. In 1972 He bought The Mill o' Eyrland and together they started renovating it during holiday trips North.
In 1980, on retirement, they came North to finish making the Mill their home. Sadly Margot developed cancer and passed away. Ian sold the Mill and bought his present Home, Cletyan. In 1996 he married Iris. Their devoted work at Cletyan saw a garden won from the field, and various alterations to the house.
He had been a member of the Orkney Heritage Society since its inception and became an active committee member, eventually Chairman and then President.
Ian's health started to cause alarm and he gave up strenuous work, concentrating instead on his old interest in wireless. A keen supporter of the Orkney Wireless Museum, where both he and Iris acted as custodians, he moved back to Cletyan where he set up a 'Cabin' in his garage as a workshop. His knowledge of wireless enabled the Museum's wartime collection to be brought up to condition and then he started on around the 400 wireless sets in the Museums reserve collection. After a brief spell of illness, Ian passed away in the Balfour Hospital on January the 26th with Iris and his son Christopher at his bedside.
Two days before he passed away he was looking forward to finishing indexing the Wireless Museum’s 4,000-odd valves and also the 22 wirelesses still left to restore”. - SF