Troqueer Landward Community Council

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Craig Laughlin

Craig Robert Laughlan 1951-2006

Craig at home

Craig Laughlan designed and was the webmaster for Troqueer Landward website, until his untimely death in 2006.

Craig was self taught in web-design as in so many other things. If he was reluctant in the first place to take on the design of the website, it was modesty alone which held him back, for his standards were high and as a beginner in the arts of web design, he was unsure as to whether he could meet those standards. He produced many versions, always wanting to improve each one, so that it would look better, load more quickly, work in everyone's browser; he never rested in his desire to make improvements. Having set up the website, Craig continued to maintain the site until his death from pneumonia in October 2006.

Craig Laughlan grew up in the Motherwell area and trained as an aircraft engineer and worked initially in the London area, but turned his engineering skills to working on oil rigs, where the money was more attractive. It was during a break from work on the rigs whilst working for his father's business that Craig had a motorcycle accident which severed his spinal chord, and dramatically changed the course of his life.

Following a period of recuperation he was offered a place in the Leonard Chesire Home at Carnsalloch at Kirkton just outside Dumfries. There followed a continuous period of residence in the Dumfries area until his death in Dumfries Infirmary on 24th October,2006.

Craig had been able to play the piano before his accident; he said he wasn't much good with reading music, he could just play things by ear. The loss of this talent seemed tragic, yet Craig never expressed regrets. Instead he developed his many other talents, artistic and poetic as well as musical. His most passionate interest though was philosophy. His Philosophy degree from the open university was with first class honours and anyone who spent time with Craig could not doubt his intention to see and understand the world as it really was.

Craig's move to a Loreburne Housing flat on his own was to prove pioneering. At the time care in the community was a new idea. Many people thought he could not succeed but his determination to make the move was strong. Everything had to be carefully thought out and his friends, family and carers were a vital part of the plan; but Craig was in charge; he knew exactly what he wanted and was determined only to settle for the very best that could be achieved.

Despite great difficulties Craig estblished a life for himself continuning to develop his political and philosophical interests. He wrote stories and poems, he read and thought, he discussed and argued, but always with humour and consideration for those who came calling but did not necessarily share his strongly held feelings and opinions.

In 1990 driven by his concern for social justice and implacable resistance to the Poll tax, Craig joined the Communist Party. The local branch held meetings in his flat; however Craig was always ready to reexamine his ideas, and eventually joined the Labour Party and though he did not attend Branch meetings, was active in developing a computer based membership record at a time when the Labour Party's membership files were in chaos. Craig continued to be a member of the Labour Party though inevitably found himself critical of much that has been done in its name.

Computers became an important part of his life. Entirely self taught, he established a cottage industry providing friends and aqaintances with computer services of one kind or another. An example is the web design in which he became interested. Craig did not just have technical skills. He had great attention to the way things looked. He had an artistic eye and was constantly searching for ways of improving his designs. His design for theTroqueer Landward Community Council site was, given his starting point, a remarkable achievment. Not long before his passing, an opportunity came Craig's way to do such work professionally. Typically, entirely self taught as he was, he doubted his own capabilities. Those who knew him well were confident though he would have been succesful at this.

Craig truly made something of worth out of his situation and shared this with the people who came to know him best. Though his life was, in terms of mobility, greatly restricted, he has nevertheless in significant ways made a contribution to our local community.