Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Scots mountain rescue hero after death

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to an ‘inspirational’ Highland mountain rescue hero following his death after decades saving the stranded on Scotland’s most treacherous peaks.

Bill Marshall was a stalwart of the Braemar community and founded the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue team (AMRT).

The climbing shop owner was awarded with local honours and helped found the Braemar Community Ltd which has brought investment into the Aberdeenshire town near the Royal home at Balmoral.

AMRT have since saved countless lives of stranded walkers and climbers on the dangerous mountains and hills of the north-east since their founding nearly 60 years ago.

It is understood Bill, who was in his 80s, has passed away from natural causes linked to age.

Local councillor Geva Blackett told the Record: “Bill was an inspiration, his sense of community was unparalleled and was effectively the founding father of what is now Braemar Community Ltd.

“He set the bar for volunteering in this community extremely high and left a legacy to be very proud of.

“A private man in many ways, he will be missed by many and my thoughts are with Dora and his sons and family at this time”

Locals have expressed their grief online.

Elaine Adam wrote: “What an amazing legacy and testimony of his vision for mountaineering rescue.”

Another added: “So sorry for the loss to the whole Braemar community.”

A proud Bill meets Prince Charles

Aberdeen Mountain Rescue bosses paid tribute to Bill who founded the team in the 1960s and became their first team leader.

His desire to form the rescue team after he recruited a team from the Aberdeen Adventure Club- which he was involved in at the time.

In a statement they detailed the awards and honour that Bill gained- all while managing Aberdeen’s first climbing shop.

The statement read: “It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of Bill Marshall the first team leader of Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team and the founder of the team.

“In 1964 Bill felt that he had a group from within the club who were sufficiently skilled and capable to form a mountain rescue team.

“The early days of the Team were undoubtedly challenging but Bill’s enthusiasm and commitment were central to the development of the Team as an effective unit and also encouraging local support for the Team.”

He saw though that the Aberdeen base would not be suitable long term- being so far from the hills- and approached local landowners in Deeside, including those at the Queen’s Balmoral estate.

The statement adds: “Bill recognised that the team, based in Aberdeen, was some sixty miles from their main areas of operation and so he sought access to buildings closer to the hills which the team could use for training and callouts.

“Bill approached some of the local estates in upper Deeside and managed to negotiate access to buildings on both the Balmoral and Mar Lodge estates which greatly improved the team’s ability to undertake callouts on Lochnagar and in the Cairngorms.

“Initially Bill negotiated access to these buildings on the basis of a shared usage with the estates but eventually these buildings through the generosity of the estates became designated mountain rescue posts and used exclusively by the team.

“Bill stood down as team leader in 1974 but continued to have an interest in mountain rescue and was always very supportive of the Team and its members.

“Bill attended the Team’s fiftieth anniversary dinner held in Braemar in 2014 and spoke about the early days of the team and some of the many hardships and challenges that ream members faced then.

“It would be difficult to overstate Bill’s contribution to not only the creation and development of the Aberdeen Team but also his vision for mountain rescue across Scotland.

“The local contacts and support that Bill fostered in the early days of the Team are still evident today, and his lasting legacy is that almost sixty years on the Aberdeen Team is very much at the forefront of mountain rescue in Scotland, and that across the country many Rescue Teams have benefitted in terms of the provision of vehicles and Rescue Bases which has evolved from that initial contact and subsequent relationship that Bill cultivated with the Order of St John.

“Bill will long be remembered by the Aberdeen Team as their founder and supporter.”

Braemar Castle, which is looking to become a major tourist destination, also paid homage to Bill and thanked him for his achievements for the community.

In a post they wrote: “It is with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Bill Marshall. the driving force behind our community taking over the operation of the Castle.

” Another of Bill’s many achievements was the initiative to create a community hydro system by reviving the defunct Victorian scheme at Corriemulzie.

“Thank you, Bill, for what you achieved for this wee remote community, your legacy will be here for many, many years to come.”

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