In these positions Jim worked tirelessly in support of deaf children and their families. Jim’s parents were both deaf and this gave him a special insight into the issues affecting deaf people and the needs of their deaf and hearing families.
He was not only a great advocate for the deaf community but was at the forefront of thinking in terms of communication. At a time when the oral or sign education debate raged, he introduced Paget Gorman Signed Speech at Aberdeen School for the Deaf as an effective communication tool to develop pupils’ English skills. He was a popular Paget Gorman instructor, teaching parents and friends the skills needed to communicate with their deaf children. As a fluent and natural BSL user, he continued to support the subsequent introduction of BSL to the children.
Jim was an active member of BATOD, serving on the Scotland committee for a very long time. He also served on the BATOD executive for a long time. Both Jim and his wife Norma were given life membership of BATOD and were presented with this at a BATOD meeting.
He was also an active committee member of the Grampian Deaf Children’s Society. He continued in this position after retirement and even after resigning from the committee Jim and his wife Norma, a retired nursery teacher at Aberdeen School for the Deaf, supported GDCS in very practical ways by helping at events where a sign language interpreter was needed.
Jim had a great sense of humour, always with a smile and a kind word. He was very generous with his time and talents being involved with many activities at Aberdeen and North East Deaf Society, where he was well thought of by all the Deaf community.
He was very much liked and respected by staff, parents and pupils alike and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and condolences go to Norma and their sons, Steven and Adrian at this time.
Moira Callan, Aberdeen School for the Deaf