Obituary: Poet, walker and war veteran

Jack Renwick (1924-2010)

John Renwick, always known locally as Jack or Jackie, was born in Edinburgh on 11th November, 1924. He was the younger of two children born to John and Margaret Renwick.

His mother was the eldest of eight children born to John and Mary Cluness whose families were deep rooted in Unst. The Renwicks had their roots in the borders of Scotland.

After the death of Jackie’s father in the early 1930s, Margaret, or Maggie as she was better known, returned to Uyeasound with Jackie and his sister Mary. Life in the 1930s was very hard, particularly for a widow.

Jackie attended the local public school in Uyeasound and managed to pass the control examination to gain entry to the Anderson Educational Institute where he studied for three years.

Unfortunately, the country was now at war, so Jackie signed up with the Gordon Highlanders. Shortly after he switched services to the Royal Navy as a signalman, serving in India and Burma to name but a few.

After the war Jackie found work with the salmon net fisheries and Hydro Electric schemes in Scotland. He then returned to his beloved Unst where he worked mainly for the Shetland Islands Council. Jackie was latterly the clerk of works supervising the construction of piers throughout the isles.

After retirement Jackie returned to Cameron Cottage to continue to write poetry and look after his cats. He was also a keen walker and travelled many miles on foot taking pictures with the camera he kept in his pocket, With the help of The New Shetlander his first book of poems, entitled Rainbow Bridge, was published in 1963.

In 2007 Jackie had his final collection of poems published by the Unst Writers Group. The Harp of Twilight, dedicated to his sister Mary, had a very successful launch in Uyeasound Hall with Jackie as guest of honour.

He was a hard-working and much-loved man who will be missed by a lot of people.



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