The library, which bears the name of Mr Graham’s Glasgow-born great-great-uncle, Professor Thomas Graham, who was the world’s leading physical chemist of the 19th century, was the first community-owned library to be built in Scotland for generations when it opened in April.

In addition to Mr Graham’s donations, 269 local people contributed sums ranging from £10 to £10,000 – one of the largest community crowd-funding campaigns yet achieved in Scotland.

READ MORE: How people power delivered £1m library for community

His son, Major General Simon Graham, who has just retired as head of British Army Reserves, said his father had passed away peacefully at home on November 2 but to the end had remained as ‘sharp as a pin’, keenly interested as much in world news as events in his beloved village.

Although born in London, Mr Graham was a descendent of the Grahams of Ballewan, a farming estate west of Blanefield, which had been acquired by Professor Graham’s father in 1835. 

Angus Graham trained as a chartered accountant and worked for a number of companies in several parts of the world including France and the US.

In 1977 he and his family moved to Scotland and he became a director of the Airdrie-based spirits group Inver House Distillers, which then employed 1200 people. It was owned by the US-based Publicker Liquor Industries but in 1988 Angus Graham and three fellow-directors led an £8.8 million buyout of the company.

Over the next 12 years the management team rebuilt it as a single malt producer and acquired five malt distilleries: Knockdhu, Speyburn, Pulteney, Balblair and Balmenach as well as the Catto’s and Hankey Bannister brands. In 2001 they sold the company to the Thailand-based Pacific Spirits Group.

Angus Graham had always wanted to do ‘something special’ for Strathblane and in 2019 he approached the local Community Development Trust offering to fund a new library to replace the deteriorating 40-year-old portacabin facility operated by Stirling Council.

Margaret Vass, development trust chair, recalled that Mr Graham was determined to create an attractive, energy-efficient building that would serve as much as a community hub as a library. 

She said: “Although it ended up costing considerably more than we had envisaged, Angus stuck with us and the project through to the end. It was a truly happy day when he cut the ribbon to open the library.”


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