A Fairlie man who was a top ICI executive and travelled the world has died at home at the age of 94.

Services were held for Dr William Laing at Fairlie Parish Church and Largs crematorium, where the Rev Dr Graham McWilliams spoke of the family man who had been both a pilot and a sailor.

Bill Laing, as he was known to friends, was born in Aberdeen in 1929 and graduated with a Doctorate (PhD) in Chemistry from Aberdeen University, after winning a scholarship to Robert Gordon College.

At one point, during the Second World War, Bill and family emerged from an air raid shelter to discover 12 houses in their street in Aberdeen had been destroyed by German bombs.

War cast a long shadow over his teenage years, disturbing, among many things, his passion for cricket and the Boys Brigade. However, he continued his doctorate so that he could complete 500 hours of flying as an Air Cadet.

Bill married his wife Nan, who died a few years ago, in 1954, and they moved to Ardrossan and then Fairlie in 1956, after Bill began employment at the ICI Explosives factory at Ardeer.

Following the births of their daughters, Fiona and Shelagh, Bill accepted a managerial post with ICI in India, sailing first class on a P&O liner to Bombay, before a long rail journey to Calcutta.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Dr William Laing, known to his friends as Bill, has died aged 94Dr William Laing, known to his friends as Bill, has died aged 94 (Image: Courtesy of Drew Cochrane)

After three years the family returned to Fairlie, with Bill in management at Ardeer and Nan teaching at Largs High School.

Sailing became a great passion for Bill, who was also a keen reader and gardener. He helped develop Largs Sailing Club and navigated to many of the islands, including St Kilda. He and Nan also did many river cruises, criss-crossing Europe.

In his later ICI executive years, they took overseas posts at Taipei, Taiwan and South Korea, before retiring for the second time.

In retirement Bill was busy as chair of the North Ayrshire Health Board, a Children's Panel member, Fairlie Church convenerships, and membership of both Hunterston and Largs Rotary Clubs. He also helped to develop the marine research group of the Largs and District Historical Society.

In his latter years, Bill was able to remain at home in Fairlie with the help of the Pro Care organisation. At the funeral service, a collection was taken for the RNLI.

Dr McWilliams said: "It gives the family great comfort that Bill is on his journey to be with Nan. Fair winds, fair tides will see him there safely. God speed."