Royal Northern and University Club


Latest New Members

November 20, 2014 - 3:36pm - by The Club Office

Jim Rutherford

Jim is Aberdeen Branch Manager for ACE European Group; an American multinational insurance company whose clients in Aberdeen are mainly oil & gas businesses.
Jim spent the first 15 years of his career underwriting corporate insurance business with Sun Alliance, AIG and Chubb in Glasgow and London before joining Aon in Edinburgh to specialise in the insurance aspects of corporate transactions. He spent the next decade working with business investors - private equity funds, banks, large corporates and their advisors before joining ACE to open and manage their Aberdeen office in October 2012.
Jim is married with two boys. In his spare time he enjoys golf, hillwalking and malt whisky. He rarely enjoys watching St Mirren FC but as a native of Paisley, feels obliged to do so regularly with his two sons.

Keith Cameron

Managing Director, Fulcrum (North Sea) Ltd
I completed my secondary education in Peterhead before leaving school at 16 to take up an apprenticeship to become an Electrician. Once completed, I worked at the St Fergus Gas Terminal, Aberdeenshire on major plant expansion projects for 2-3 years. I then decided to go back to full time education at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and gained an Honours Degree in B.Eng. Electronic & Computer Engineering in 1998. I then went on to qualify as a Chartered Engineer in The Institution of Engineering & Technology in 2002. I have been a certified Functional Safety Engineer (TUV Rheinland, Cologne, Germany) since 2007 and achieved Functional Safety Expert Certification in 2013.
My industry experience extends from Junior Control System Engineer for a major oil company to a Software Engineer for a major control systems manufacturer and then an Instrument Discipline Engineer in offshore topsides modifications projects and operations support roles. I have experience in offshore commissioning, process optimisation and troubleshooting.
I have been lucky enough to work with many of the leading Oil & Gas companies including Elf Exploration, Honeywell, BP, Wood Group PSN, Marathon Oil, Maersk Oil North Sea Ltd, Conocophilips UK and Talisman Energy.
In January 2014, along with my business partner Stan Kay, we decided to set up an independent company, which specialises in Functional Safety for the North Sea Oil & Gas Industry. The company’s objective is to provide an efficient, high-quality service, delivering Functional Safety solutions to ensure compliance and continued safe operation.
I currently live in Blackburn with my wife, Lynda, and two children Matthew aged 5 and Lucy aged 3.


Annual Members and Guests' Dinner 2014

September 8, 2014 - 12:18pm - by The Club Office

A selection of photos from Friday 5th September, when Sir Graeme Catto was the Guest Speaker, are available to view in our Facebook Album.


Latest New Members

September 8, 2014 - 11:51am - by The Club Office

Davis Larssen

Davis has over 18 years’ experience in the oil services industry and joined Proserv in March 2010 as CFO and Executive Vice President. Prior to joining Proserv, Davis worked at Bateman Litwin as CFO for 2 years. Davis also held various roles at Vetco Gray, most latterly as Regional Vice President Finance, where he was responsible for all front end commercial and operating financial issues across eight operating regions, and prior to that as Vice President Finance for Eastern Region and Global Subsea Systems. Davis joined Vetco Gray in 2004 from Schlumberger, where he had worked since 1996 in various positions In Europe, USA and the Middle East.

Chuck Davis

Charles E. "Chuck" Davis III serves as Chief Executive Officer of the new Robert Gordon University Foundation, a post which he has held since arriving in Aberdeen in November of 2012.  Charles has served high ed institutions for over twenty years in development and alumni affairs, most recently at Elon University, in North Carolina, where he served for almost a decade and was responsible for the university's largest comprehensive fundraising campaign.  He is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and has served institutions throughout the Carolinas in his career.  In his role at the RGU Foundation, he has been tasked with building a new organization to provide a philanthropic stream of income to support the university's ambitious strategic plan.  He is married to Flora Hall Wood Davis, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who hails from Edenton, NC and is the father to Virginia Flora Hall Davis, 14 and Marthanne Campbell Davis, 13, both students at the International School of Aberdeen.

Mark Murphy

A Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, Director of Aberdeen Citizens Advice Bureau and past Chairman of Stonehaven Round Table, I have always been keen to balance professional interests with community engagement.
Originally from East Yorkshire, I live in the beautiful countryside near Stonehaven with my wife Nicola, who is a lecturer at Aberdeen Business School. We share our home with a characterful Airedale, Taiga.
Professionally, I have been a project manager, senior consultant and chartered engineer working across the oil industry for both operator and service sectors within Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals. I currently work for BP as a Business Change Lead. In my career I have had the pleasure of working with most of the major oil companies, visiting many countries, including a period of living in Queensland, Australia.
I have a range of hobbies, from learning to fly to Taekwondo and playing guitar. More recently I have devoted my time to organising community events, whilst continuing my interests in music and travel.

David Vardy

On leaving school David Vardy joined his father in the family motor and transport business where he worked for many years.  In the early 1990’s he moved into the “not-for-profit” sector and spent a number of years working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association travelling to many parts of the world.  In 1997 he was appointed the Charity’s Chief Executive in the UK and also became Executive Director for Samaritan’s Purse International, the Christian relief charity.  He retired from those positions at the end of 2003.

He was Project Director, and later Chairman, of Emmanuel Schools Foundation for over 20 years.  He was responsible for developing Emmanuel College, in Gateshead; The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough; Trinity Academy, Doncaster and an All-Age Academy in Blyth, Northumberland.  Emmanuel Schools Foundation educated 5,500 young people in its schools located in some of the most challenging areas of the north east of England.

David was Chairman of the Christian literature ministry STL for 15 years and has served on the Boards of The Keswick Convention, Counties, Mercy Ships, International Christian College (Glasgow), Moorlands College (Bournemouth) and Moody Bible Institute (UK).  He is currently Chairman of Stewardship and Inter-Varsity Press.

David has been married to Rosemary for more than 46 years. They have three married children and eight grandchildren.  David and Rosemary lived in North East England for most of their married life but have recently relocated to Edinburgh. Their older daughter, Elizabeth, lives in Milltimber where her husband is Teaching Pastor at Deeside Christian Fellowship.

David Lamont

David has over 30 years of industry experience and has held various technical and senior management positions around the world. David was President of Eastern Region and Global Subsea Systems for Vetco International from 2004 to 2007. Prior to this position, David was Senior Vice President of the Eastern Region, Europe, CIS and Africa at Vetco Gray. David has also held various senior operational positions at Schlumberger where he worked for over 18 years. Prior to joining Proserv, David was CEO at Batewin Litwin for 2 years. David joined Proserv in January of 2011 and assumed the CEO role in March of the same year.

David Strachan

Educated at Merchiston Castle School and Aberdeen University where he graduated Bachelor of Divinity and Diploma in Pastoral Studies, David’s career has straddled television and the church.  He was minister of Aberfeldy in Perthshire before founding Tern Television, where he is Managing Director.  He has led company expansion into Glasgow and Belfast, and a lobby of broadcasters and government to devolve production from London. He has produced Tern’s religion and some documentaries, which have won Bafta Scotland, Royal Television Society and Prix Italia awards. 

David is a Governor of Robert Gordon University, a trustee and director of the early music ensemble, Dunedin Consort, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling. 

Married to Helen, he has three children, three step children and four grandchildren. Interests include music and theatre.

Allan Cameron

Allan has over 28 years of experience with Phillips Pet Chems/now Chevron Phillips Chems. He graduated with BSc (Hons) in 1973 from the University of Glasgow and has worked in the Oil and Gas industry ever since. He is currently the Area Sales Manager for Chevron Phillips Chemicals. Away from work, he is married with two sons.


Farewell to Lor

August 15, 2014 - 2:44pm - by The Club Office

It was an emotional day today as Lor, the restaurant supervisor and face of the Club, retired after 32 years of service.

A farewell reception gave Members a chance to say their goodbyes and wish her well as she retires to Australia to spend time with her family.


Latest New Members

July 17, 2014 - 8:00am - by The Club Office

Richard Cowie

Richard attended school in Ruthin, North Wales until 1971 then worked in Liverpool as a Commercial Property Consultant before joining his parents in Stonehaven in 1974. He worked as a labourer for Wm. Tawse on the Stonehaven dual carriageway whilst taking evening classes and day release to qualify as a Civil Engineer in 1980. He then joined the Oil and Gas industry in 1982 and held many posts with 5 companies but always preferring Sales and Marketing. Having retired from Petrofac in June 2013 he set up Kirktyne Limited (Business Development Consultancy) and now represents several companies in the Oil and Gas arena. Richard is a keen sailor, golfer and country sports enthusiast, married to Lana for nearly 34 years, with two children and one grandchild.

Ian E Massie

Ian, an Aberdonian, attended Aberdeen Grammar School  and qualified as a C.A. with Whinney Murray in Aberdeen in 1980. He joined Paull & Williamsons to assist in the management of Scottish Northern Investment Trust and in 1985 moved to Edinburgh to join Dunedin Fund Managers. He remained involved in  investment trust management until he retired in 2012 from Aberdeen Asset Managers which had acquired Edinburgh Fund Managers in 2003 after EFM acquired Dunedin in 1996. He became Head of Investment Trust Investor Relations at AAM in 2003.

In 1993 he was diagnosed as suffering from an acoustic neuroma and, after its removal ,four months of rehabilitation followed before Ian could return to work.

Ian is a Past President of Edinburgh Junior Chamber of Commerce,  a Burgess of Guild in Aberdeen and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife ,Gill, and two grown up children. He enjoys travelling ( to Aberdeen and overseas ) watching sport, especially football ( Aberdeen, of course), cricket  and ice-hockey and collects wine.

Alan Fergusson

Born and bred in Aberdeen, I attended Cult Academy and currently reside in Echt with my wife Debbie and three children, aged 18, 15 and 13. My interests are family, football, golf, wine, food and travel (in that order!).
My career commenced in banking, followed by approximately 10 years with a local solicitors firm, progressing my way to Financial Services Manager during that time.
I joined Kudos in 1998 and was appointed to the Board as Director after a management buyout in 2000. We developed the Employee Benefits business with clients ranging in size from 50-5000 employees.
Kudos was acquired by Mattioli Woods plc, an AIM listed company in the UK in 2011 where my role became Group EB Director. Kudos changed its name to Mattioli Woods plc in June 2014.
In 2012 Kudos became Members of the WBN (Worldwide Broker Network), the largest fully integrated network of Employee Benefits Brokers in the world, and in 2014 I was appointed to the WBN Board of Directors.

Peter Murray 

Originally from Edinburgh, Peter studied at Aberdeen University and is a solicitor with the law firm Ledingham Chalmers LLP.  Joining them in 1997 as a corporate law specialist, he was made partner in 2002.  Peter currently serves on Ledingham Chalmers’ board.  Peter is also vice chairman of Albyn School, Registrar to the Episcopal Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney and a council member of Moray Chamber of Commerce.  As well as being a solicitor and notary public, Peter is an Advocate in Aberdeen and a Burgess of the City of Aberdeen.  He is a member of The Law Society of Scotland and the Ecclesiastical Law Society.  Other interests include being a business mentor and most recently becoming a regular columnist for the online newspaper Energy Voice. Peter lives in Bieldside with his wife and three young children.


Annual Members' Dinner 2014

May 21, 2014 - 1:56pm - by The Club Office

The Annual Members' Dinner on Friday 16th May was a fantastic evening, with seventy Members in attendance and guest speaker Bob Keiller, Chief Executive of Wood Group, entertaining with his speech “Business Values”


New Reciprocal Clubs

May 18, 2014 - 9:40am - by The Club Office

We are delighted to announce that a reciprocal arrangement has been formed with three new Clubs.

Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club

Dam 27
1012 JS Amsterdam
The Netherlands

00 31 20 624 22 20

Marines’ Memorial Club

609 Sutter Street
San Francisco
CA 94102

415 673-6672

City of London Club

19 Old Broad Street

020 7588 7991


Musical Evenings with Richard Michael

March 25, 2014 - 10:54am - by The Club Office

Members and guests were treated to two very special evenings of entertainment by the multi-talented Richard Michael on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd March when Richard conducted musical evenings featuring "opera to jazz" on piano. It is not possible to do justice to Richard in print. All that can be said is that he has brought improvisation to a new level playing everything from Burns to Wagner. His audience communication had everyone saying "I wish I had had a music teacher like him!"

The Dining Room was filled to maximum capacity, and the only question outstanding is when, not if, Richard will be invited back. He was certainly delighted with the audience participation and response.


160th Anniversary Speech

March 21, 2014 - 10:39am - by The Club Office

Speech given by Dr Vijay Jandial, Club Chairman, at the 160th Anniversary Cocktail Party, held in the Club on 20th March 2014.

The Northern Club was established in 1854. There were 116 original Members. The great majority were local gentry and proprietors of various businesses. Heading the list were Lords Hay and Haddo, the Earl of Kintore, Sir Alexander Burnett of Crathes and Marquis of Huntly, whose subscription remained unpaid for some years. There were also some bankers and Advocates. Rear Admiral Leith represented the Navy and Major General Turner represented the Army. Most Members who joined remained Members for life. There was the occasional removal of a Member by the Committee, once a bankrupt Advocate was removed.

To ensure some kind of selectivity the membership entrance fee was fixed at a formidable £15 and the annual subscription at £15!

The range of facilities supplied by the Club has changed little over the years. There was a Smoking Room, a Billiards Room, and a Reading Room, which was well stocked with magazines such as Punch, the Field, Black and White and Vanity Fair. There were also some Reference books in the Reading Room.

Most popular activities in the Club were playing cards and Billiards. Food and Drink were an important part of the Club facilities. (Apparently nothing has changed over the years!) The Suggestion book was introduced in 1870 and the first entry was a complaint about the supply of Brandy. Much of the House Committee time was spent in obtaining good wine and whisky sampling sessions. Food was also an important part of Club activity. The cook produced beef dishes, steaks, oysters and five kinds of tarts and puddings.

The Club’s first home in 1854 was at 1 Union Terrace. The location proved to be ideal and helped to acquire the Royal title.

The Club did admit a lady in 1863!  Queen Victoria came to Aberdeen on 9th October 1863 to unveil the statue of her beloved Albert who died of typhoid in December 1861. The Club premises offered the vantage point for the proceedings. The Club was offered to the Queen and her retinue. The Queen was grateful for the courtesy of the Club and bestowed the Royal title. She also gave £20 to the Club staff!

It was not until 1955 that ladies were finally admitted as guests but only after 3pm!

The Club moved from Union Terrace to 204 Union Street in 1874. The out- break of war in 1914 made its impact on the Club. Within one year 4 Members of the Club were killed. Membership numbers declined and there was all time low of 152.  Gradually the Club got busier. Naval and Military officers were encouraged to become temporary Members.

As a result of depression, the price of beer was reduced and supplies of port and wines were laid down. There was a high consumption of whisky and port. However, Chivas Brothers stopped the supply of whisky during the Second World War in 1944. Post war, the membership increased. 50 new Members were admitted to the Club. In 1952 Prince Philip became the Patron of the Club.

Over the years the Club received many gifts. Sadly some have disappeared. The most substantial in terms of bulk were the stag heads. The most admired head as it is today was that gifted by King Edward V11. It was a stag shot by him. The other prized possessions are the pair of paintings in the Reynolds Room. Sir Alexander Burnett of Crathes gifted these in 1856. After intensive investigation in the early 30’s it appeared that they were not solely painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, as stated in their inscription. Reynolds might have done the heads and hands, but his workshop did the rest!

In 1948 the Club purchased 9 Albyn Place, the present premises, for the princely sum of £10,000. The Club Centenary was celebrated in 1954 with a cocktail party like this one! Reciprocal membership with other Clubs was developed in 1968.

The University Club was proposed in 1889. The Club was instituted for the Association of Gentlemen connected with the Universities of the United Kingdom to form a bond of Union and create a feeling of friendship and afford opportunities for their intellectual intercourse. The first meeting of 16 people included 4 Professors of Divinity. Students were not acceptable. It started a Library, which was extensively used. The original premises were at 183A Union Street and consisted of 5 rooms of which 2 were the Reading Room and the Library. Other rooms were for smoking and billiards. Books played an important role and were frequently borrowed.

By 1892 the University Club had 176 members. Numbers remained steady till 1969 when there was marked drop leading to financial difficulties. The initial entrance fee was 3 guineas, which increased to 4 guineas by 1902. The Annual membership fee was 2 guineas, which increased to 9 guineas!

By 1970 inflation was making life difficult for Clubs everywhere in the UK. Wages and other costs were rising. Victorian buildings required maintenance and refurbishment. In 1972 an ad hoc Committee of the Royal Northern Club was formed to look into the financial problems of the Club. The financial problems were increased further with the discovery of dry rot in 1973. An increase in Annual fee led to 40 resignations. The University Club was also under financial pressure. Amalgamation of the two Clubs was proposed at the AGM of 1974. In 1977 both Clubs voted for the Amalgamation and finally in 1979 the Clubs merged to become The Royal Northern University Club. One of the casualties of the merger was the Library of the University Club. Books were sold much to the regret of many Members. However the fine fireplaces of the Club were saved and are now housed in the Reynolds Room and the Dining room. Membership numbers topped 500 in 1983.
Refurbishment of the bedrooms, kitchen and improvement in the décor of the Club took place. Miss Black was appointed as a manager in 1982. Ron Esslemont was also appointed the same year. Prior to that Stewards managed the Club.

Today we have a very vibrant and active Club. There are various interest groups including three investment groups. Membership is vital for the well being of the Club. The numbers over the years have been around 650. The need to attract new Members is one of the issues, which has exercised every Committee and will continue to be of paramount concern. I feel this is a matter not just for the Committee but also for every Member of the Club. Ideas to bring in new Members will be welcomed by the Committee and I hope with your help we will be able to reach the target of having 670 Members this year.

There has been a continuous rolling programme of improvements. The Garden Room was completed in 1989 and has proved to be very useful for dining and meetings.
I look forward to your support in the coming months for various projects outlined in the Club magazine and at various functions detailed in the Newsletter.
I am very grateful to Malcolm Sutherland, who has been a Member of the Club for 47 years in supplying some anecdotes. Malcolm started as a Member of the University Club. The Members were a mixed bunch. There were doctors, lawyers, garage proprietors, bankers and shopkeepers. So at lunchtime one could get good advice on anything, from getting a divorce, financial crisis or a painful toe, all over the main course!

When the two clubs merged, there were great disputes over the treatment of the large round Stilton cheese infused with port, which most Members had instead of pudding. The Northern lot vandalised the cheese by cutting wedges with a knife and the University lot were more traditional and scooped their cheese!

Apparently in the good old days the Club used to subscribe to Playboy magazine, which used to disappear promptly! One day there was a hunt for the Playboy. They found the Chairman asleep in one of the rooms with the Playboy spread across his chest!

Thank you Malcolm for sharing these stories with us.


Latest New Members

February 21, 2014 - 6:55pm - by The Club Office

Ian Aitchison

Originally from the Borders, Ian served in the Merchant Navy with the Ben Line of Leith, gaining his Master Mariners Certificate at aberdeen Nautical College. He transferred into the drilling world abroad then into the North Sea. He served on Shell Expro's offshore production platforms as Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) prior to coming onshore as HSE Manager. Following a long service with Shell he joined Aker Kvaerner again in the North Sea operations and decommissioning but also doing 3 years as HSE Manager in Kazakhstan on the Kashagan Field hook up in the Caspian Sea. A secondment of 3 years to lead the industry safety forum, Step Change in Safety, has made him appreciate and share his knowledge of the importance of HSE in business. Since returning from Kazakhstan Ian set up his own consultancy, Corum Marine Safety Ltd and currently works with major North Sea Operators & Contractors on Management of Change, HSE & Marine projects.

Richard Clarke

Born in Essex, Richard obtained a BSc degree in Geology from Bristol University before joining Shell International as a well site petroleum engineer in 1981.
Following an initial period working on land rigs in Holland as a petroleum engineer, Richard transferred to the drilling department and worked his way up from assistant driller to drilling supervisor on land rigs in Holland, Thailand and Oman.
Following his departure from Shell in 1989 he spent five years working for various oil and gas operators in the North Sea in both onshore and offshore engineering and supervisory positions including two and half years as a senior drilling supervisor on the Claymore platform for Elf Enterprise Caledonia. Since 1994 Richard has worked on projects for both small and large international operators in a number of countries including Algeria, Pakistan, Trinidad, USA, Colombia, UK, Egypt, Holland, Ethiopia, Poland, Falklands and Equatorial Guinea.
Richard cofounded REC Consultancy Services Limited with Dave Mackay in 2007.
Richard is a Chartered Engineer, a fellow of the Geological Society of London and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Professor Phyo Kyaw Myint

MBBS, MD, FRCP (Edin.) FRCP (Lond.)
Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age
School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Aberdeen

Born in Myanmar (formerly Burma), Phyo is the first person in his family to enter into the medical profession! He spent a rather long medical student life (10 years) - 6.5 years long medical course + 3.5 years of school closure due to political unrest in Myanmar and closure of medical schools between 1988-1991, and again in 1992 during which he served as volunteer house officer in No (2) Military Hospital (Surgical Unit) and the Professorial Unit of Medicine in Yangon General Hospital.  He started postgraduate medical training in the UK in 1997 and held junior clinical training posts in Yorkshire and East Kent regions and Specialist Registrar posts in Mersey and East Anglia regions. He was awarded the Stroke Association Clinical Fellowship and received clinical stroke training in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. He was trained in Clinical Epidemiology in Cambridge (Clinical Gerontology Unit, University of Cambridge) and Norwich, UK. He was conferred the Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 2007 with the Thesis “Healthy Ageing: Determinants and Outcomes of Functional Health in EPIC-Norfolk”. As a specialist trainee he has involved with founding the trainees group of the British Association of Stroke Physicians and served the British Geriatrics Society as Elected Vice-Chair (2003-2005) and then Elected Chair (2005-2007) of the Trainees group.
He completed higher medical specialist training in March 2008 with accreditations in General Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine with sub-specialty in Stroke Medicine. He took up his first senior academic appointment with the Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia in April 2008 as Clinical Senior Lecturer in Ageing and Stroke Medicine. He became Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 2010 and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2012. He moved to Scotland in August 2013 to take up the position of Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age with the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine & Dentistry.
He sat in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) COPD update Guideline Development Group and was a Steering Committee Member of National COPD Resources and Outcomes Audit. He became the Royal College of Physicians of London Representative of Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) Council and also a member of Clinical Studies Group of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN) in 2013. He joined RNUC as an ordinary member in February 2014.
Phyo's research interests include clinical epidemiology and outcome research in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, determinants of physical and mental ageing (healthy ageing), clinical geriatrics (extreme old age, disability, pneumonia, futility and CPR decisions) and health services research of conditions prevalent in older age.


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