Death announced of Allan Denholm CBE CA

Avril and Allan Denholm
By Robert Outram

20 August 2015

Recalling the life of former ICAS president Allan Denholm, who died this week.

James Allan Denholm CBE CA (known as Allan Denholm), who died on 16 August, aged 78, was a past president of ICAS and a prominent and active member of the business community in Scotland. He had been a member of ICAS for 55 years.

He was born in Glasgow and educated at Hutchesons Boys Grammar School. He served his apprenticeship with McFarlane, Hutton and Patrick in Glasgow, qualified in January 1960 and was admitted to membership of the Institute on 30 March 1960.

Mr Denholm started his career in business with A & W Smith Co. Ltd in 1961 as an accountant. In 1966 he became chief accountant (financial) with William Grant & Sons Ltd (Distillery) in Glasgow and in the same year he became joint secretary of William Grant & Sons Ltd. He was appointed secretary and a director in 1975, eventually retiring from the board in 1996. He was active in a number of bodies connected with the whisky business.

Mr Denholm was appointed a director of the Scottish Mutual Assurance Society in 1987, becoming deputy chairman in 1992, a non-executive director of Abbey National plc in 1992, and of Scottish Provident plc in 2001.

It's an accolade that you earn and having earned it, you're actually pretty proud to wear that on your shoulder and it opens the door to many places.

He was active in the business community in the West of Scotland, chairing the Glasgow Junior Chamber of Commerce (1972-73). He chaired the East Kilbride Development Corporation from 1983 to 1995 for which he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1992. In later life, Mr Denholm was involved with the Trades House of Glasgow, where he was elected Deacon Convener in 1998.

Mr Denholm was also deeply involved in a number of charitable organisations, including The Salvation Army and the Scottish Cot Death Trust, and was an elder of New Kilpatrick Parish Church.

He took an active part in ICAS affairs through the 1970s and was a member of Council (1978-1983). He served as junior vice-president (1989_1991), senior vice-president (1991-1992) and president (1992-1993). Mr Denholm was also a Trustee of the Staff Pension Fund from 1994 to 2007.

Allan and Avril Denholm at our 160th Celebration with ICAS Past President Jann Brown CA (Centre). 

He became an ICAS office-bearer at an interesting time; in June 1989 members voted on – and decisively rejected – a proposal to merge with the ICAEW. Mr Denholm was a member of the strategy group set up before the vote to develop and ensure The Way Forward for ICAS in the event of rejection.

It was also the period when ICAS introduced its Training Outwith Public Practice (TOPP) scheme, a move that Mr Denholm strongly supported.

He was a talented after-dinner speaker, with an apposite story for every occasion.

After retirement Mr Denholm continued to take part in ICAS social events, such as the Gold Club, and the Institute's 160th anniversary celebrations last year, and was a regular attender of the annual Past Presidents' Committee meetings. He was often accompanied by his wife Avril, who is also a CA and who survives him.

Mr and Mrs Denholm featured in a special video entitled A Lifetime with ICAS, marking the 160th anniversary of the institute last year.

When asked why he was proud to be a CA, Mr Denholm said: "That's not terribly difficult to answer but it's difficult to put into words, because it's from the heart.

"It's an accolade that you earn and having earned it, you're actually pretty proud to wear that on your shoulder and it opens the door to many places.

"Thomas Lister, the president in 1960, said to us all in the coffee room of the institute, when presenting us with our certificates, 'I'm giving you the key to the door, go and open the door, the ball's in your court'. And that's what I've tried to do all the time"

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