Bill McLaren Tribute

It was with great sadness that we learnt last week of the passing of one of the stalwarts of the Bakers Craft, Bill McLaren. Starting as an ‘unofficial’ baker in 1950, Bill retired from McLaren Bakers in 2018 at the age of 79, after being one of the last remaining bakers in the Angus towns of Forfar and Kerrimuir. With almost seven decades in the industry, he’d certainly seen the ups and downs of the business.

Bill officially started as a baker in 1955 when he was fifteen but before then, he was a roll boy at ten, working in the bakery and helping his father. His first salary was ten shillings a week rising to two pound and eighteen shillings in 1955. On marrying in 1966 his weekly wage rose to eleven pound.

McLarens opened in 1893 by Bill’s great grandfather and Bill became the fourth generation to work at the company but it wasn’t his intended career path. The young Bill planned to go into the RAF but, as was the way back then, the pressure to help out in the family business meant a career in baking was inevitable.

Bill went on to develop the business and one of the highlights of his career was when his daughter Karen took over the reins of family firm. Bill was Deacon Convenor of The Nine Incorporated Trades between 2011 and 2013 and was incredibly proud to have been the person to place the Deacon Chain of the Bakers Trade around the neck of his daughter Karen, to become the first Lady Deacon in the history of The Nine Trades.

One thing is for sure, ‘Bridie Bill’ will be remembered with great admiration by everyone in  the Trades. Our thoughts are with Bill’s wife and their family at this very sad time.