In the eyes of those who knew him, James John Lawrence was a local legend.
A community councillor, veteran political campaigner, and decorated war hero, James John or ‘JJ’ to his friends, had time for everyone and remained one of the town’s most active and diligent citizens right up to his sad passing in December at the age of 94.
James John was always able to find time for others. One particular anecdote tells of how, upon finding out that Fraserburgh’s toddlers had nowhere to swim, JJ asked Westfield School if they would be willing to let the toddlers swim there; a request to which the school acceded. He then proceeded to lead the swimming lessons himself.
James John served in both the Merchant and Royal Navy during WW2 with distinction. Notably, he participated in the Russian Convoys and received a number of medals. Following active service, he remained an enthusiastic member of the local Royal British Legion.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, recalls: “I will always remember the sight of JJ on Remembrance Sunday - standing to attention at the Fraserburgh cenotaph and adorned with an impressive row of medals across his chest - he was a true community man and worked to make Fraserburgh a better place for future generations.”
JJ had a long-standing involvement in the SNP, campaigning on successive elections as Councillor Brian Topping’s election agent.
Former First Minister Alex Salmond, whom JJ campaigned for in 1987, said: “When I was told during the referendum that we had a gentleman up Fraserburgh way who was delivering leaflets to dozens of streets at the age of 94, I knew that could only be one person.
“JJ was an inspiration to fellow activists and a very kind man who, along with his wife Violet, contributed so much to the Party locally. He was undoubtedly one of the Broch’s best, and I shall remember him fondly.”
He will be sorely missed.