Alex Shand - A life dedicated to the news

Alex Shand was the Gazette's first dedicated reporter and worked on the paper from 1962 until 1975.
Alex Shand was the Gazette's first dedicated reporter and worked on the paper from 1962 until 1975.

Tributes have been paid to Alex Shand, the Glenrothes Gazette’s first reporter, who passed away last week.

Alex, who joined the Fife Free Press as a 19-year-old trainee in 1962, was shortly after given the role of reporter in the fledgling new town when the Gazette’s first edition was published on November 21, 1962.

He spent the next 13 years on the newspaper as both the town and the publication grew in size.

He was eventually promoted to chief reporter overseeing all aspects of news within the area.

Born in his grandmother’s house in Thornton on October 5, 1943, he lived until the age of 11 in Kirkcaldy before emigrating to Canada where he spent the next seven years.

It was there that he trained as a journalist before returning to his native Scotland where after a short stint employed at William Low in Kirkcaldy he joined Strachan & Livingston.

Alex will be remembered for breaking the news of the CADCO collapse, which became a national scandal.

“Without doubt it was my biggest scoop in over 40 years on the papers and the only time I ever got to shout ‘hold the front page’ ... what a fantastic feeling that was,” he reminisced when interviewed as part of the Gazette’s 50th anniversary in November 2012.

Alex even found true love through the Gazette having been sent to interview Sheena, his future wife, who at the time was an employee of Fife Institute.

Alex left the Gazette in 1975 to join the Forfar Dispatch where he rose to become editor.

When the paper was sold he worked in Bristol and Newton Stewart before ending up at the Fraserborough Herald as editor and occasionally an additional photographer until his retirement in 2009.

Following his wife’s passing in November 2013, he moved to Broughty Ferry where he remained until he passed away on Wednesday, April 22 following an illness.

Alex will be remembered as a committed journalist who was dedicated to the newspaper industry.

He is survived by son Michael and daughter Sandra and three grandchildren.

His funeral takes place at Kirkcaldy crematorium on Friday, May 1 at 10.15 a.m.

A scoop like no other for reporter Alex

“It was the greatest story of my career,” laughed Alex when he was interviewed as part of the Gazette’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2012.

Alex broke the story on the collapse of CADCO Corporation - a story which grew to become a national scandal with questions asked in the House of Commons, arrests and the small matter of hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment lost.

“Without doubt my biggest scoop in over 40 years on the papers, and the only time I ever got to shout hold the front page!

“I remember getting the bus to the company offices to hear a progress report and was left in reception for two hours.

“Next thing I was told was that the chairman and other directors had resigned and the company was collapsing like a house of cards.

“I found the nearest phone box and held the front page and wrote the story up on the bus as we were on deadline... what a fantastic feeling that was!”