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A Century of Tradition

Gregor William Mowat


Gregor was born in Ayr on 20 April 1972, meaning his birthday was always followed by a bank holiday, Tiradentes. The second President to go to Merchiston Castle School, he spent six months travelling in India and Nepal, teaching English. After graduating from Durham University where he met his wife and Society Secretary, Gail, he became a chartered accountant in Ayr, with the family firm, William Duncan and Company. From there, he was recruited by KPMG Sao Paulo.

Greg never volunteered to become President and the Committee remembers an epic phone call where he was `persuaded` to take on the role of vice-president with promises that he would never have to assume the role of president! However, inevitably, a year later the position came up, and with more promises of support from the Committee, Greg accepted. Only he can say if these promises were kept.

Putting a strong focus on updating the membership database, Greg sent out over 1,000 letters to the British Community to make sure everyone was receiving information. He aimed to make the charitable aspect of the Society more prominent and visited several of the children’s projects supported by St Andrews, with the aim of finding out what resources were needed where.

Greg discovered a three quarters size cardboard cut-out piper amongst Society memorabilia. Naming the piper Roderick, he personally ensured that Roderick got front row seats at all society events, until Gail banned him from the Ball for being too scruffy.

The 77th Caledonian Ball was a wonderful event held at the Rosa Rosarum Buffet in Pinheiros and enjoyed by an enthusiastic throng, including many more young people than before. All went incredibly smoothly, except for a nerve-wracking moment at 11 on the morning of the Ball when 15 of the 40 table centre pieces spontaneously exploded. So, to avoid flooding the guests, the floating candles were dry docked in beds of ivy on the tables.

Gregor`s daughter, Beatriz, was born in Brazil and may be the youngest society family member, at 10 weeks, to go to the Quaich match, held at Santos Sao Vicente Golf Club for the first time. At the memorable party in the clubhouse, organised by John and Luciana McClintock, John generously donated a golf trophy to mark the occasion, while Beatriz slept in the ladies changing room.

In 2001 the silver Quaich was put on display at the “British in Brazil” exhibition, organised by Ray and Meg Krinker, ably helped by Jo Marcus.

Gregor`s year as president was cut short when he joined HSBC and left for training in London as an International Manager prior to his foreign posting. He and Gail will be remembered as an enthusiastic, personable and fun-loving couple, with 3 daughters.

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