Monday, 24 September 2018

Saviour of Flying Scotsman dies

A MILLIONAIRE businessman from Henley who rescued the Flying Scotsman has died.

Sir William McAlpine, who lived at the Fawley Hill estate with his widow Lady Judith McAlpine, passed away yesterday (Sunday, March 4) following a period of illness.

The 82-year-old, a former director of his family's construction company, purchased the famous steam locomotive from America in 1973.

It had been due to spend the rest of its days in a museum but Sir William brought it back to England and pressed it back into service for day trips before selling it in the Nineties.

A keen rail enthusiast, he built a full-sized railway at his estate including the original station from Somersham in Cambridgeshire, which was closed during the Sixties.

Since 2004, Sir William and Lady McAlpine had hosted the Hambleden Valley's annual "railway nativity", a modern take on the story of Jesus' birth featuring children from the village and surrounding area.

The youngsters would arrive at Somersham platform on a full-sized steam train and give readings and sing carols before enjoying festive refreshments.

Sir William was born at the Dorchester Hotel in London, which his family owned, and educated at Charterhouse School before going straight into the family business.

He built his home at Fawley Hill in 1960. The estate also serves as an animal sanctuary housing a range of species including goats, deer, wallabies, reas, emus, peacocks, alpaca, meerkats and capybaras.

Sir William, who inherited his father's baronetcy upon his passing in 1990, was also chief elect of the Clan McAlpine Society and served as High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1999.

A full obituary will appear in this week's Henley Standard.

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