Local hero Syd "proud" as he receives degree

Poet, hillwalker and local legend Syd Scroggie, who has overcome severe handicap and adversity to pack in a lifetime of personal achievement, had one of his proudest days yesterday when he received an honorary degree from Dundee University at the Caird Hall.

Syd (81), who lost a leg and the sight of both eyes after stepping on a landmine during the second world war, became an honorary Doctor of Laws at the first of the university's four graduation ceremonies.

Along with his wife Margaret, Syd was welcomed to a reception in City Chambers by University Chancellor Professor Sir James Black, Principal Sir Alan Langlands and Lord Provost John Letford.

"This has come like a bolt out of the blue," Syd admitted, characteristically holding his audience in raptures. "They wouldn't have believed when they blew me up 50 years ago that I would be here now.

He added, "This is the first time I've been awarded an honorary degree and I'm very proud. It's also very special that it is from the University of Dundee because although I don't have the Dundee tongue, for generations both sides of my family have been in Dundee and I am 100% Dundonian."

Syd revealed that although this was his first degree, he had university experience at Oxford after the war. "I was at college in Oxford and they taught me how to write among other things but I realised after five terms that that I had gained as much as I was capable of from them and I had given as much as I was capable of to them, so I left.

Asked whether he had any ambitions left in life he replied, "Yes. To be 82."

Following the ceremony, Syd and Margaret attended a lunch and they planned to attend last night’s dinner for honorary graduates at the University.

Taken from "The Courier", Friday July 13, 2001

(Syd Scroggie is a Harris FP who started his school career at Park Place. He is laying the wreath at the annual Remembrance ceremony in the school in November.)