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A tribute to Richard Findlay CBE

Published: 20 Jul 2017

Richard Findlay CBE - photo by Christopher Bowen

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Richard Findlay CBE, Creative Scotland’s Chair from 2015-17, who died at home in Edinburgh on 8 July after a short illness.

Richard has played a hugely significant role for the arts and our television and radio industries in Scotland through his many and wide ranging public and private roles. These have included Chair at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, inaugural Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland and Chair of STV as well as at Creative Scotland where he was Chair from January 2015 to June 2017. His passion for the arts and screen sectors in Scotland was deep rooted, he knew Scotland holds hidden reserves of talent, which don’t always get the opportunity to flourish. His determination was to play a role in helping find more ways to unlock this potential.

Richard stays with us in memory as a generous, principled Chair and dear colleague who we will greatly miss.- Janet Archer, Chief Executive

Much has been written about Richard’s qualities over the past week in many different contexts. It has been both humbling and uplifting to read what people have felt about the impact he made to their work at many different stages of his life. Creative Scotland has benefitted from his vast pool of knowledge, he has taught us a great deal too, all of which will remain with us as we navigate the next stage of development as an organisation. More than anything Richard was human in his leadership. He always said it as it was, he didn’t hold back when something mattered, but equally he had a sharp sense of humour, which he put to good use in many different situations.

Richard’s commitment to Creative Scotland was exemplary, putting in many more hours than he was contracted to, and refusing to take a fee for any of it. His achievements include appointing eight new Board members who collectively bring a wide range of skills to the organisation; beginning the thinking on how we might strengthen our development agency function; and setting us on the journey of shaping a new Screen Unit with our partners. He was uncompromising in his belief in Scotland’s arts and culture and felt we should play an even more prominent role in championing it more widely across all aspects of public life. He was acutely aware of the important role we play across the arts, screen and creative industries, and fully understood the transformative impact public funding for the arts can have on cultural confidence, societal cohesion and economic wellbeing everywhere.

Richard stays with us in memory as a generous, principled Chair and dear colleague who we will greatly miss. His special combination of friendship, wisdom and determination will stay with us for a very long time. He leaves a wife, children and grandchildren, to whom we send strength and love.

Janet Archer
Chief Executive, Creative Scotland

Richard's funeral will be on Tuesday 15 August, 10.30am at St  Serf’s Church on Ferry Road, Edinburgh. The family have requested no flowers but rather donations to Cancer Research through the Just Giving page set up in his name.

Photo of Richard by Christopher Bowen