G M Macfarlane Grieve

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Gavin Malcolm Macfarlane Grieve was a pupil and teacher at the Perse school and lived for most of his life at Toft Manor, sometimes described as the squire.  Generally known as Mac, or Uncle Mac (largely within the Perse) he was central to Perse Scouting (5th Cambridge) for many years and was ASM from 1912 and SM from 1918 on his return from war which he served in the Black Watch.

He studied at Durham University and later at Magdalene where he graduated.  His status as Fellow Commoner made him a member of the High Table, a privilege he enjoyed until his death.  He regularly attended chapel on Sunday nights and was described as a slight, quiet presence, with an unostentatious lifestyle.  His family fortune had been based on naval prize money in the Napoleonic Wars.

Music teacher at the school he purchased West Runcton in Norfolk as a campsite for the 5th.  Another site in the adjacent village East Runton, was used by other troops.

  • Senior Scout Leader    1948 – 1963    Senior Scout and Venture scout camps were generally led by himself and Tony Billinghurst.  On his retirement over 100 Old Perseans and Senior Scouts attended his presentation.
  • GSL                              1963 – 1973

He was one of the six original trustees of Abington Campsite.  He held the roles of ADC Cubs and ACC Cubs from 1924.

Medal Merit  1925

Refused Silver Acorn in 1951.  It is not known why he did not feel that he deserved this honour.

Died 12th April 1974

‘Mac’ is a very frequent reference in the archives for many years; he was clearly a central presence.  He was known by his nickname across the District and further afield.  This obituary has, however, not been readily filled by many specific details but pieced together from many sources.   He reads as an able and trusted man, much appreciated by those whom he met as a Scoutmaster and administrator but not leaving individual headline acts.

As a fellow commoner of Magdalene College he donated a collection of books on Genealogy, literature and music to the library and a stained glass window to the College Chapel.  The Perse received £50,000 and the sports pavilion was funded in his honour.  His brother Alwyn, also a teacher at the Perse was killed in 1917.

JWR Archivist June 2019