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A Century of Tradition

Jack Manwell


Our thirty-fifth President in 1965 was another of those members whose name appears on a host of Committees of the Society, serving in 1955. 1958, 1964, 1967 and as Secretary in 1966, During his term on the 1964 Committees, Jack took over the duties of Vice-President from A.M. Horner when, in mid-year, “Jock" transferred to Rio.

Paisley born; Jack worked at the Linhas mill in Vila Ema where he was manager of Twisting Department. He spent 18 years in Brazil and, while he supported all Society activities, his first love was Scottish dancing. In 1969 together with Elizabeth Sewell he took over the Society dancing classes and the following year, helped by Nan Stevens, he again undertook this arduous task.

A former soldier, he learned his dancing in his Scottish regiment. Just to watch Jack at practises transported one from the drab and rundown surroundings of SPAC's main hall at the time, with a borrowed gramophone scratching at a "Jimmy Shand” record to the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle on a Tattoo Night, with the kilts swinging as the Regiments' dancers weave their way through the Foursome to the sound of the pipes and drums. Jack’s keen interest in Scottish dancing inspired John Moore (President of the Society in 1967) to arrange an original dance “Manwell’s Farewell”, which he dedicated to Jack on his retiral to Scotland in 1968.

Jack's other main interests were singing, gardening and sport. In the case of the first, not only was he a regular in the church choir, but also had the distinction of being a founding member of the renowned “Haggis Alley Glee Club”. His wife, Jean, was a respected member of the Garden Club of São Paulo where at one time or another she carried off almost all the available prizes with floral presentations grown by Jack and herself. To this day some of the roses which they cultivated can be seen at various spots in São Paulo, such as the Linhas Factory at Vila Ema, and SPAC. In the sporting field, Jack was the proud winner of the Society Golf Quaich, but his most pleasurable achievement was to win the São Paulo Athletic Club singles bowls championship at the last end of an exciting match in the very year he left Brazil.

Jack, with his pawky sense of humour, was a good after-dinner speaker, which no doubt helped him during his year of office as President of the Society he so loved. He was also notorious for his “manwellisms” - his own Brazilian translation of Scottish Sayings. Amongst the best remembered are “nunca cabeça” (Never heed!), “dinheiro deles” (“Mony O’them” referring to “New Year wishes”!) and “Give it the Obras!”.

Like his immediate predecessor as our President Jack Manwell was accorded Honorary Membership of the Society in 1968, an honour richly deserved for his services to the Society and is aims and objectives.

Jack died in Hunters Quay, Argyll in 1969 at the early age of 61. He is survived by his widow, Jean, also an active supporter of Society affairs during her stay in Brazil, and a son Andrew.

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