adidas galaxy last of Ayr’s old High Street publicans who ran two popular town centre bars
HomeNewsLocal NewsPubs, bars and nightclubsBobby Howatson, last of Ayr’s old High Street publicans who ran two popular town centre bars, dies aged 86The popular publican ran the old Shanter Bar in Burns Statue Square and the celebrated Matha Dickie’s in the High Street.13:27, 5 JUL 2017Comedy legend Frank Carson plays it for laughs in Matha Dickies as owner Bobby Howatson looks on (Image: Robin Christie/Ayrshire Post)
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The last of the High Street publicans of old Ayr has died aged 86.
Bobby Howatson was a man’s man who became a legend of the trade.
In fact, two of his pubs were ‘men only’ when Bobby was in charge.
One was the old Shanter Bar (now Drouthy Neebors) in Burns Statue Square. The other was the even more celebrated Matha Dickie’s in the High Street.
Ironically, council chiefs made Bobby install a ladies’ toilet in Matha’s.
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Bobby’s early life was spent in the rural setting of Loch Doon. His parents, Quintin and Queenie, had a remote lodge. And they hosted well to do visitors who came to fish the loch.
Bobby witnessed a remarkable occurrence as a 10 year old boy in 1941. He was out with his father,
shooting hares on Saturday morning, October 25, 1941.
They saw a Spitfire fly low over the water, but a wing touched the loch’s surface, and it plunged into the depths.
Bobby’s dad cycled to Dalmellington police station to report the crash.
There was a search for weeks by the RAF, in terrible weather, but there was no sign of either the plane or the Czech pilot.
But 40 years later Bobby was able to tell a sub aqua team where the Spitfire went in to the loch.
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The fuselage, engine and other parts were recovered. And the restored Spitfire is due to be unveiled at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum on July 16 this year.
The body of Pilot Officer Frantisic Hekl, of the Czechoslovakian 312 Squadron based at Ayr, was never found.
One of the notables who came to fish Loch Doon was building tycoon John Lawrence, a major shareholder in Rangers FC.
Mr Lawrence picked up the tab for a smart suit and new shoes for the young Bobby when he was invited to Ibrox Stadium.
It was a huge thrill and inspiration for Bobby who never forgot the generosity of a man who himself started with nothing.