Loudon McAndrew – Job Talk – 5 June 2018

One of our recent new members, Loudon McAndrew, gave a highly amusing account to the club of part of his working life. Following his academic studies in accountancy at Glasgow University, and after a few years working with Larkhall Machine Tool Co. (a former subsidiary of Rolls Royce), Loudon joined the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) where he served as Financial Controller to a number of independent Societies. When the S.C.W.S. merged with the C.W.S. in Manchester, he was appointed senior project accountant with complete responsibility for all financial matters relating to the integration of many independent societies into the parent body. During this period, he spent a number of years working in Northern Ireland to supervise the integration of that country’s business. It was his experiences there that Loudon chose to recount to us.

According to Loudon, accountancy can be a scary line of work! The stories of his spell in Northern Ireland at the height of ‘the troubles’ were ample proof of that. He had not previously encountered such sectarian prejudices so the thinly veiled threats to ‘go home’, and incidents such as being locked out of his hotel in Bangor while the night porter carried out a ‘security check’ came as something of a shock. When he relayed his concerns to his chief executive he was informed that he ‘was well insured’! Not a great deal of comfort!

Other incidents included driving over the Laggan Bridge in Belfast a few minutes before a car (also with mainland number plates) was blown up with two fatalities and two other casualties. He was even held up at gunpoint while leaving a hotel bar near the border. On another occasion he was greeted by name by the manager of the only inn in a nearby village and who had never met before.  By this time Loudon was able to recognise a veiled warning but, nonetheless, saw out his task with his own brand of humour and determination to do a good job.

Harry Peters complimented Loudon on his colourful and witty talk.