Please click below to read the Eulogy about Bert's life by Ron Birch

BertMackie

My name is Ron Birch, and I am the current Chairman of Portlethen Rifle Club in Holburn Street, Aberdeen, and it was this club that Bert joined in 1943.

He had already had a taste of target shooting with the Air Training Corps, where at the age of 17 he won his first silverware, the ICI 100 Trophy.

The success has not gone unnoticed, and Bert was invited by the then Chairman of Porthlethen, William Findlay, to shoot a card at Porthlethen's range. This he did, and it must have been good, as he was then asked if he would like to join the club. Fortunately for Porthlethen he did, with the Chairman even paying his membership fee. Bert shot in every competition available to him, winning many, and shot successfully in league teams throughout his time at Porthlethen.

He was perhaps at his best during the 1970s, and Bert was Club Champion in 1971, the year in which as a team member, Porthlethen were runners-up in the National Small Bore Rifle Association Scottish Cup. Success was only delayed for the team, which included Bert, won the trophy the following year in 1972 to become Scottish Champions.

On his retirement from business, Bert and his wife Molly (who was also a competent shooter) moved home to Banchory where Bert joined the local club and continued his shooting with his usual skill and enthusiasm.

Bert contributed much more than just shooting, for in 1987 and following the death of his fellow Porthlethen team mate Sandy Stronach, he carried on Sandy's role as scorer, or referee, for the league cards shot for the Aberdeen & District Rifle Association. This was no mean task, and required some 5000 cards to be scored per season.

Bert has done this job for some thirty years, and although the number of cards reduced over the years, it was still a demanding task which required much time and concentration, in addition to intimate knowledge of the rules. Bert had a computer****. His computer was a pencil and sheets of paper, and each score was carefully written down, the team total calculated, and the results sent to the respective clubs. At the end of the season, league winners and placings were also calculated as were individuals' averages. And not a computer in sight!

Shooters are notoriously optimistic about their scores. I had on one occasion asked Bert politely if one of my shots was perhaps a bull, and not the 'nine' he had had given it. It was close to the line, and I thought it had a chance. Bert looked at the shot hole and told me that in this sport, there are never any doubts about the value of a shot - it is either 'in' or 'oot', and that one is 'oot'!

Bert was an active member of the Aberdeen & District Rifle Association's committee, and has held the posts of Match Secretary and County Captain, and was proud to have been made an honorary member of the Association.

He has also shot at Bisley several times and at the Scottish Championships held at various locations from Wick to the Scottish Borders, for 55 consecutive years, the final one being only last year.

At the Aberdeen and District Wapinschaw at Huntly in November 2016, Bert was presented with a Long Service Diploma from the National Small Bore Rifle Association in Bisley in appreciation for his services to the sport.

In Bert we have lost a very dear friend and colleague, and he will be sadly missed by all shooters here, past and present, and those unable to attend this service.

 

 

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