Nicola Sturgeon pays tribute to Portchester naval engineer Vic Emery who died before Christmas

TRIBUTES have been paid to a talented naval engineer from Portchester who rose to become the first chairman of the Scottish Police Authority.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 31st December 2021, 3:39 pm
Vic Emery died on December 18 while driving his car.
Vic Emery died on December 18 while driving his car.

Vic Emery, 77, died when the BMW X3 he was driving left the A74(M) southbound at Ecclefechan on Saturday, December 18.

Mr Emery, who grew up in Portchester but lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne, leaves behind a wife, three daughters and three grandchildren.

It is believed he suffered a fatal heart attack while driving, his heartbroken younger brother Francis told The News.

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Vic Emery was the first chairman of the Scottish Police Authority and a leading light in the development of the Royal Navy's fleet of Type 45 destroyers.

As well as being the first chairman of the country’s police authority, he also played a major role in bringing the Edinburgh Trams Project back on track, and was chairman of Zero Waste Scotland.

He also had a series of high profile private sector positions, including being the group managing director of BAE Systems warship building and sustainment business for more than a decade, proving a pivotal figure in the navy’s fleet of Type 45 destroyers.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has since paid tribute to him for his remarkable contribution to the nation.

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‘I first got to know Vic when he ran Govan shipyard and since then our paths have crossed regularly through his public sector roles. I held him in very high regard and liked him a lot. My deepest condolences go to his loved ones,’ she said on Twitter.

A statement on behalf of the family, issued through Police Scotland, said: ‘It is with great sadness that the family announce that Vic Emery, a cherished husband, devoted father and grandfather and respected businessman passed away Saturday, December 18, 2021.

‘His wife, Dianne, and daughters, Lucy, Juliet and Victoria and three beloved grandchildren are utterly devastated, their hearts shattered, and request privacy at this time.’

Francis, Mr Emery’s brother, said he had been devastated to hear of his sibling’s sudden death, hearing the news just hours after his own 75th birthday.

Francis, of East Dean near Chichester, said: ‘He was a fun-loving person. He was a strong family man. I had an enormous amount of respect for him.

‘He always had very strong willpower and a determination to succeed… I don’t think anything he touched ever failed.’

He added Mr Emery was believed to have suffered a ‘chronic heart attack’ while driving.

‘There was no other car involved, thankfully,’ he said. ‘It was such a heart attack that he would not have known a thing.

‘I know his wife and girls and certainly myself find a crumb of comfort in the fact he didn’t die in a mangled state but just went out like a light.’

Mr Emery was born on September 21, 1944 in Portchester as the second-oldest of four children.

Growing up in Portchester he went to Portchester Secondary Modern before joining Vosper Thornycroft as an apprentice naval architect.

Talented and ‘practically-minded’, Mr Emery proved a shining light and was rapidly promoted.

His role in the company would see him travel the globe, working on warships in Singapore and Canada before being ‘headhunted’ by BAE Systems in the 1990s.

He remained with BAE for 12 years, developing and launching the Portsmouth-based class of Type 45 destroyers

In May 2008 he was awarded an OBE for services to warship building.

Mr Emery’s funeral is due to take place on Thursday, January 13 in Newcastle.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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