Posted: 19 January 2023

Scottish Rowing is saddened to hear of the passing of Bob Neill on 17th January 2023 after a short illness.


Photo courtesy of Ron Wallace

Bob was well-known to many of us over the years through the various ways in which he contributed to our sport. These included his long tenure as rowing master at George Heriot'sSchool, his many years leading the Scottish Schools Rowing Council activities and events, helping to plan regattas at Strathclyde  Park and many other less-obvious pieces of support which he provided to many clubs and events over the years. 

His funeral Service will take place on Monday 6 February at 15:30 in the Pentland Chapel, Mortonhall Crematorium, 30B Howdenhall Road, Edinburgh, EH16 6TX. All friends are respectfully invited to attend.

"Chalky White writes -

Bob grew up in Leith - accounting for his lifelong devotion to Hibs - and went to school at Leith Academy

Bob joined the staff of George Heriot's School as a physics teacher in 1973, ending up as head of department for many years. His involvement with rowing started a year or two later when the previous master in charge of rowing moved on and some of the boys in the club asked Bob to take over the task.

Bob led the club from being a small player to being seriously competitive at such events as National Schools and British Championships, including being the first ever Scotland-based boys crew to win an event at the National Schools Regatta in 1982. This was followed by many years of success at national level events with Bob driving minibus-loads of schoolkids many thousands of miles until he retired from teaching in 2006.

Bob was instrumental in introducing the sport to girls when the School became co-educational and with his usual enthusiasm a highly successful programme of girls rowing followed. The high point was seeing two female pupils representing GB, one at the World Championships and one at European level in 1992.

Bob developed the popularity of rowing at the school such that there was one year when rowing became the first preference choice for so many 3rd year pupils that the school rugby coach complained he could not put out an S3 1st 15!

During his years in the sport Bob also ran the Scottish Schools Rowing Council and contributed to the running of many Scottish regattas. Bob will be remembered fondly by many former pupils and coaches."