Death of Linlithgow lighthouse stalwart

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One of Scotland’s last lighthouse keepers – who took up the career after being saved from a sinking trawler as a teenager – has died.

Eric Bruce’s career took him to every single beacon around the Scottish coastline until his much-loved job became redundant when lighthouses became fully automated in 1998.

The grandfather-of-three, born in Linlithgow, died last week, aged 67, and was laid to rest with his keeper’s cap and Northern Lighthouse Board flag draped over his coffin.

Mr Bruce, who lived for most of his life in Aberdeenshire, was just 19 when he had a brush with death while working on a fishing boat. He was among eight men working on the Banff-registered Rosebank when it floundered 80 miles from Shetland.

The crew were plucked from the sea by lifeboat crews. Born in Linlithgow but growing up in Aberdeenshire, Mr Bruce swapped a career as an apprentice grocer for a life at sea.

But the 1963 sinking was a painful memory and he decided he would help protect others from dry land as a lighthouse keeper.