David Purves 1924-2015
5th January 2015
The Scots Language Centre was saddened to learn of the death of David Purves who passed away on Saturday 3 January at the age of 90. David had been a prominent figure in the Scots language world for the past four decades and many of us in the Scots language community were influenced by his thoughts and writings. Born in Selkirk in 1924, David Purves was educated in Galashiels and Edinburgh and was an agricultural chemist by profession as well as an environmentalist. The other great interest in his life was, of course, the Scots language, and it was within that community that many of us came to know him.
David served as Preses of the Scots Language Society during the years 1984-1987 and then as editor of the Society journal Lallans during 1987-1995. He often addressed himself to the questions of orthography and the political status of the language and was not afraid to debate these issues in public forums, such as the cross-party group in the Scottish parliament, or by way of discussion papers. His contribution to Scots writing was considerable. As well as producing collections of poetry, articles in Lallans, and translations from Chinese works, he was the author of A Scots Grammar (1997) which has continued to inform and influence writing in Scots today. David lived latterly in Cramond but never forgot his Borders roots, sometimes writing under the name Soutar Davie which is a nod to the people of Selkirk who were once well known as skilled soutars or shoemakers..