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Robin Stormonth Darling Although it was feared that he would not walk again (he was left with a slight limp which remained with him all his life), he made a remarkable recovery to become a schoolboy athlete of some note.
At Winchester, he matched his father's achievement of winning both the steeplechase and the mile; he also showed a gift for mathematics, and in his final year became senior commoner prefect (joint head boy). By the time he had completed his training with the Fleet Air Arm the war was over, but he qualified as a pilot, serving until 1946, when his air group was disbanded. He then joined the Army and was commissioned into the 9th Lancers, serving in Egypt and Palestine before being stationed at Edinburgh Castle as ADC to the GOC in C Scotland, Lieutenant General Sir Gordon MacMillan, from whom he learned much about leadership. His beads for pandora final spell in the Army was as an instructor at the Mons Officer Cadet Training Unit, Aldershot. Stormonth Darling now decided to go into the City, and in 1954 joined the stockbroking firm Laing Cruickshank, where he quickly became a partner. He was to remain there for 33 years, the last seven as senior partner and chairman. In 1960, aged 34, he was appointed a director of where to buy pandora beads the British Motor Corporation (later British Leyland), serving on the board for 16 years. Stockbroking suited Stormonth Darling's mathematical mind and his instinct for risk taking. Although he rarely lacked in confidence and was sometimes feared as a boss he was never seduced by greed, managing to pursue a single minded approach without losing his objectivity. As chairman from 1980 to 1987, he oversaw the growth of Laing Cruickshank from a traditional City firm to a more muscular player with international ambitions in the post Big Bang securities markets; his tenure ended when the firm (by then, after several mergers, Alexanders Laing Cruickshank) was acquired by the French bank Credit Lyonnais. His brother Peter, meanwhile, was also to become a well known figure in the City as chairman, from 1979 to 1992, of Mercury Asset Management. From 1978 to 1986 Stormonth Darling sat on the Stock Exchange Council, serving as chairman of the quotations committee on sale pandora charms from 1981 to 1985. He was also on the disciplinary appeal committee (1981 85) before becoming deputy chairman of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers, unique pandora charms and from 1985 to 1987 served on the Securities Investment Board. His regulatory career was, however, cut short when one of Laing Cruickshank's "half commission men", Anthony Parnes, was found to be embroiled in the Guinness share trading scandal. On retiring from his full time roles in the City, Stormonth Darling took up several non executive directorships and began to spend more of his time at Balvarran, the 2,500 acre estate in Perthshire which he had inherited from his father in 1961. At Balvarran he entertained generously, filling the house with guests on high days and holidays. He was an excellent shot who enjoyed walked up grouse as much as he did any driven shoot. Sport always remained an interest, and he was happy to watch virtually anything competitive, from an Ashes Test series to the television game show It's a Knockout. During the 1970s and 1980s he hosted an annual family cricket match at Scone Palace where at 6ft 6in tall he always cut a dash in his matching I Zingari cardigan and baggy cap. He was particularly difficult to beat at Freda, a frenetic game played around a billiards table with the aim of keeping the red ball constantly moving by striking it with the white ball. An enthusiastic and accomplished skier, Stormonth Darling also enjoyed fast cars. During the mid 1980s he was easily recognisable in his customised pink Porsche, and when stopped by two traffic policemen in Gloucestershire he was advised that they had been concerned that their car might not catch up with his. He replied: "Had I known that, I'd have gone a bit faster." For much of his life he retained a pilot's licence, and in 1981 he buzzed a rugby match at a preparatory school in which one of his stepsons was playing. In 1992 he agreed to take on the role of honorary consul for Mexico in Scotland, despite having no grasp of Spanish and never having set foot in Mexico. For 15 years he flew the Mexican flag at his Perthshire home in its remote Scottish glen, where bemused Mexicans would visit him to discuss visa extensions over tea in the billiards room. Also in 1992 his wife Carola without his knowledge entered him for the words and numbers television quiz show Countdown. Announced on the show as "The Scottish Laird", he found himself up against a very bright 12 year old boy. He was concerned that if he lost, he would not hear the end of it; and if he won he might be considered "the big bad bully". In the event he won by a clear margin, but managed this gracefully, without patronising his young opponent. Stormonth Darling carried on skiing and shooting until he was 80, but his health declined following a fall whilst he was travelling in Egypt. His last two years were challenging and uncomfortable, but he never complained, continuing to fill his house with friends. Even in his final months he maintained a keen interest in managing the land and nurturing the gardens at Balvarran. 's first two marriages were dissolved.
With his first wife, Susan Clifford Turner, whom he married in 1956, he had a daughter and three sons. He married secondly, in 1974, Harriet Heathcoat Amory; and thirdly, in 1981, Carola Brooke, with whom he spent 28 happy years. She survives him with his children and two stepsons.
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