THE son of a well-known businessman and "community hero" in Largs has led the tributes to his father.

Stanley Martin, who died at the age of 90 on Sunday, May 19, will be remembered by many local residents for his years running two much-loved tearooms in the town, The Green Shutter and the Jacobite.

Son Steve described his father as someone who did whatever he could to make Largs a better place for himself, his family and others.

As well as his decades running several successful businesses, Stanley was known for his involvement in Largs Rotary, his founding of the Largs Crime Prevention Panel, his work with the Cunninghame Tourist Board and his role as a president of the town's Chamber of Trade.

Stanley was born on August 23, 1933, in Glasgow, to parents George and Mary Cowie and attended Paisley Grammar School.

At the age of 16 he also discovered a passion for motorbikes that would help him establish lifelong friendships across the west of Scotland and beyond.

He met his wife Isabel at Paisley's Plaza Ballroom, and the couple were married in 1960.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Stanley and his wife Isabel on enjoyed their travels Stanley and his wife Isabel on enjoyed their travels (Image: Newsquest)

Before that, in 1951, Stanley had started working as a clerk at a firm of insurance brokers - a job that took him across the country and saw him gain a fellowship from the Chartered Institute of Insurance in 1956.

Son Stephen was born in 1963 and daughter Fiona four years later, with five grandchildren following in the years ahead - Andrew, Lorna, Martha, Tom and Oli.

They family of four owed their decades-long association with Largs, where Stanley felt most at home, to one life-changing decision. 

His son Steve Martin told the News: “We had just moved to Wetherby and had only just been there a year when two things happened at once.

“Dad was at that stage the regional director of Sedgwick’s, and he had the choice of moving back to London or buying the Green Shutter Tearoom after my gran told him it was for sale.

“He decided he had enough of the corporate life and moved up to Scotland.”

The family moved into the flat above the business for their first couple of years in the town before moving to Netherpark Crescent.

And if running one business wasn’t enough, Stanley took the reins of the much-loved Jacobite Tearoom in Largs, and would later run a small confectionery business and then a dairy in West Kilbride after handing over the ownership of the other companies.

Despite, his determination to remain active in his local community, he always tried to do the best for his family even if it meant working seven days a week

Steve added: “He was so committed to do what was best for his children. I remember him fondly in the kitchen and running the tearoom. Learning those entrepreneurial skills from my dad helped me to get where I am in life."

In his retirement, Stanley kept himself busy with friends, badminton, golf and travel.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: From left to right: Lifelong friends Ian MacDonald from Largs, Stanley and Jim Jenkins from Ralston in PaisleyFrom left to right: Lifelong friends Ian MacDonald from Largs, Stanley and Jim Jenkins from Ralston in Paisley (Image: Newsquest)

Steve continued: “He was an active member of the Routenburn Golf Club. When he could, he would play 18 holes, though that went down over the years.

"He played golf with one of his motorcycle friends, Ian MacDonald, until dad was 88.

“He enjoyed going to meet his friends for lunch at a pub in Fairlie and attending Clark Memorial Church services when he could.”

Sharing his fondest memories, Steve reflected on the lessons he learned from his beloved dad.

He said: “He was loving and always wanted the best for you, but on the other hand he was a very traditional man.

“He set me up really well to deal with other people in business. He has friends all over the country, but the fact that he moved around a lot and kept those friends says a lot.

“The one thing we can all laugh about it that you would never have a long conversation with my dad over the phone. He would always worry about the cost of the call or how busy we were.

"The best way we can describe the calls were short and sweet.”

Isabel passed away in August 2021, and during the last years of Stanley's life, a number of health challenges meant he was looked after in hospitals and care homes, though he only cared about coming back to the place he called home.

“Over the last year he was looked after by a company called Pro Care," Steve continued.

"They have been absolutely amazing and I couldn’t thank them enough.

“He lived in Largs longer than anywhere else. It is the one place he wanted to be.

"He built his business there and he tried to help the community in whatever way he could. It is an important place to our family.

“He didn’t take it for granted. He tried to make it a better place.”

And one piece of advice that Steve wanted to share with the community from his dad is ‘be at the bar first, not last’.

He explained: “Be generous and others will be generous to you.”