Words by James Simpson, Past chairman of the BLF
Many of us knew Rory Young well as a regular and popular figure at our annual Gatherings. What some of us will not know is that Rory was diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago. He shocked his doctors by telling them that he did not want chemotherapy or other treatment, but that he would live out the time remaining to him as constructively, creatively and happily as he could.
He arranged a summer party last July, for as many of his friends who could come, held in a field and garden belonging to good friends nearby. More than two hundred and fifty people came and it was an extraordinarily happy and celebratory occasion. He continued working and planning his affairs to the end, which came quickly at 5.00am on Thursday 23rd February, after a meeting with colleagues on the previous day.
I learned much of what I know about lime from Rory. On restoring the badly weathered frontage of Law’s Close, Kirkcaldy, thirty years ago, he showed us how to fill gaps and holes in stones, which were otherwise sufficiently sound structurally, with bits of broken brick and lime mortar and how to bring the surface to a flat limewashed surface with pointed joint lines. But he was mainly a sculptor and carver, a letter cutter and a pursuer of good causes. The Old Testament cycle of sculptures he made for the West Doorway of York Minster are quite unsurpassed (image below).
Few people that I have known have combined such a passion for the practical with such skill and creativity. Rory was unique, will never be equalled, and was greatly admired and loved by all who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.
Thank you Rory.