Aberdeen entrepreneur Alistair Paterson, founder of Torry’s Trojan Crates, has died aged 82.
The father of two, who started out in business running a family chip shop in Mastrick, passed away peacefully at home.
A partner in life and work
Alistair Ewan Paterson, was the youngest of six children for Drumoak couple Alexander and Christina Paterson. While his mother worked at home looking after their sizeable family, Alexander was the village postmaster. Hard work was in Alistair’s DNA and after leaving school he took on a carpentry apprenticeship, working throughout Aberdeenshire.
Before completing his education, however, Alistair met Agnes Smith, affectionately known as Nancy. His childhood sweetheart, the couple would become partners in life and work.
Nancy and Alistair tied the knot in 1962. They moved to Skene Square, Aberdeen, and the following year their first son, Raymond, was born.
A ‘light bulb moment’
In 1967 they started their first business by refurbishing and running Woodend fish and chip shop in Mastrick. By 1969 their second child, Mark, was born and in 1972 they sold their chipper to purchase a paper shop in Balnagask Road, Torry.
Even with a young family they worked long hours in the paper shop but Alistair also took on work as a joiner for various construction companies all over Aberdeen.
In 1979, when he was asked to utilise his woodwork skills to create a specialised shipping crate, Alistair had a ‘light bulb moment’. Seeing a niche in the emerging oil and gas industry for high-quality transit packaging.
By October that same year Alistair opened his first depot on Allenvale Road. With Nancy alongside him as as office manager, Trojan Crates Limited was born.
Demand quickly grew and in 1981 they moved to larger premises at Bedford Avenue, Aberdeen. As the business grew Trojan Crates relocated to the Scotoil base at the Sandilands Centre in 1990 before finding its permanent home in 1998 on Sinclair Road, Torry.
In 2015, expanding into logistics, Alistair developed the business by investing in manufacturing facilities at Howe Moss Terrace, Dyce.
Passionate about his company Alistair was keen to bring in the right people to take the business forward. He didn’t need to look far. For his two sons, Raymond and Mark, who had been mentored by their dad, were the obvious choice.
Like his dad before him Raymond worked as a joiner before joining Trojan in 1998. Working from the ground up he became a director and shareholder in 2003.
Mark began his career as an accountant eventually travelling throughout Europe and Africa as a financial consultant. And since 2016 has supported his dad as financial director.
Alongside success in business Alistair was also proud to have had a long and loving marriage. Calling Nancy “the only person that was a fit for him” they celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2012. Nancy passed away shortly after.
Keeping up with tradition, a third generation of Patersons joined the family business in 2017 when Alistair asked granddaughter Alana Paterson to bring her business development knowhow to Trojan Crates.
‘Big hearted and positive’
Alana said: “Working with my grandad was an honour and privilege. Supporting him during the past year with poor health, I was reminded just how wonderful, and special, he really was”.
Raymond said of his father that he was “firm but fair and a great teacher”. Mark added: “Dad’s determined attitude may have been the secret to his success but it was his big heartedness, positivity and engaging nature that earned him the affection and respect of everyone who knew him.”
Never wanting to consider retirement, Alistair remained chairman of the firm he built with his family. He passed away peacefully at home, aged 82, on November 10.
He is survived by his sons Raymond and Mark, daughters-in-law Sharon and Jayvani, his granddaughter Alana, and great-granddaughter Aria.
A private funeral will take place on Wednesday November 23.