A WELL-KNOWN Forfar man has been knocked down and killed while cycling in the Indian tourist paradise of Goa.
Former merchant navyman and Forfar publican Wally (Walter) Shuff died on Saturday morning when he was hit by a speeding driver near the coastal village from which he had been due to return next week after a regular winter break in the Arabian Sea resort.
Mr Shuff had stayed on in Goa for an extended spell after long-time partner Janis Ramage returned to their home in Letham at the beginning of the year, where last night she was being comforted by family members after the dreadful weekend news.
The tragedy was relayed to her daughter, Elaine Buchanan, who also lives in Letham, in a traumatic early hours phone call on Saturday morning.
Still coming to terms with the shocking turn of events thousands of miles away, the family is now making arrangements to have Mr Shuff’s body flown back to Scotland.
A post-mortem on the active 64-year-old is due to be carried out and communication is being maintained with the British Embassy in an effort to ensure things move as quickly as possible.
Wally’s loved ones also understand that a local man has been charged and bailed in connection with the weekend tragedy, but Elaine said last night that was of little comfort to her mum and the many people who have been shocked by the news.
The couple had enjoyed visiting the Indian state for many years, renting accommodation in the village of Colva which they had come to know well.
“They had friends there and were as much part of the community there as they are here,” said Elaine.
“People who knew Wally here will realise how easily he made friends over there.”
She added, “The first phone call I got was very hard to understand and it’s just so hard to take in.
“I have been able to e-mail a British friend over there and we have managed to get in touch with the authorities to try and get information on when his body will be coming back,” she said.
“My mum was getting everything ready for him coming home on the 24th and we just can’t believe that this has happened.”
Originally from Monifieth, Wally was brought up locally before completing an apprenticeship at the former Giddings & Lewis Fraser engineering factory in Arbroath.
He then embarked on a career in the Merchant Navy with BP which would take him to many parts of the world and see him gain his First Officer’s ticket.
In later years, Wally worked in the North Sea where he rose to become offshore installation manager, the most senior post on the drilling platform.
He took early retirement in 1992 at the age of 47, having also around that time entered the pub trade as mine host of Raffters Bar in Forfar’s Castle Street, which he ran for several years.
He was then also able to enjoy his love of golf as a member of Forfar Golf Club and was a popular face at the Forfar Bowling Club.
A keen gardener and an avid reader, he and Janis, who were together for more than 20 years, had moved from Forfar to a new home in Letham only last summer to be closer to Elaine, her husband Stuart and their children Chelseigh and Zak.
Mr Shuff is also survived by his son Alastair, wife Lorraine and their children Kerry, Ellie and Connor in Southend, and Janis’s son and daughter-in-law Craig and Sarah Ramage, who live in Forfar.