Fond memories of Sir Peter

A SCOTTISH Olympic medallist diver, former chairman of the Australian, News Zealand and Scotland's Commonwealth Games Federation and father and grandfather to Bargara's McRae family has died.

Sir Peter Heatly was born in Leigh, Scotland in 1924 and died of prostate cancer at age 91.

Sir Peter had four children - Anne, Jane, Peter and Robert with his first wife who died in 1979. In 1984, Sir Peter married Mae Cochrane, who died in 2003.

Son-in-law Michael McRae said his family would fondly remember Sir Peter's annual visits to Bargara.

"He's been to Australia many times, ever since 1990 when (Sir Peter's daughter) Jane and I were married," Mr McRae said.

"He used to come and visit us."

Mr McRae met Sir Peter's daughter Jane in 1987 when she was teacher a Kalkie State School.

"She had exchanged (from Scotland) with a teacher from Bundaberg called Shirley Hill," Mr McRae said.

"And Shirley went over and taught at Jane's school in Edinburgh and Jane came over here and taught at Kalkie State School.

"That was in 1987, Jane when she finished her year, went back overseas but we kept in touch and married in 1990, we had a big Scottish wedding in Edinburgh.

"Ever since then Jane's father has come at least once a year to visit us."

Mr McRae said his sons, Robert, Christopher and Alexander adored their grandfather who, throughout his sporting career, won three golds, a silver and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games and later became the chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Sir Peter remains the only Scottish athlete to have won gold at three consecutive Commonwealth Games.

"And when he was training for that, there was a pool attendant that used to clean the pool and his name was Sean Connery," Mr McRae said.

"Jane's father was the sort of person who met a lot of people but never bragged about it, he was on speaking terms with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh."

In 1971, Sir Heatly was awarded a CBE and later knighted. In 2002 he was inducted into the Scottish Sport Hall of Fame and the Scottish Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.

Sir Peter still found time for charity and was a member of Rotary International for more than 60 years.

"And while he was visiting (Bundaberg), he was asked by a number of the Rotary Clubs in Bundaberg to be a guest speaker," Mr McRae said.

Mr McRae said Sir Peter also made several guest speeches at St Luke's Anglican School and the Burnett Businessmen's Club.

Mr McRae is today flying to Scotland with sons Christopher and Alexander to be with wife Jane and the family.

A memorial for Sir Peter will be held in Scotland on October 2.

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