Alan Fraser, former County Solicitor of Cumbria County Council, died on June 16, 2019 aged 83.

He was a distinguished local government lawyer, a fine sportsman and a great lover of music.

Alan was born on February 11, 1936 in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.

He was educated at nearby Trent College, then at Hertford College, Oxford where he gained MA in Jurisprudence with Honours.

Embarking on a career in Law he passed the Law Society Final Examination with Honours and qualified as a solicitor in 1960.

Alan had a long legal career in Local Government with a number of County Councils. He was articled in West Sussex, then served as Assistant Solicitor in East Suffolk, moving to Derbyshire where he ultimately became Assistant Clerk of the Council. In October 1971 he moved to Cumberland as Deputy Clerk to the late Roland Whitfield.

This was a time of massive reorganisation in Local Government and Alan played a major role in putting in place the administrative and Governmental framework for the new Cumbria County Council which came into being in 1974.

As Cumbria’s County Solicitor he led the council’s legal department for a further 20 years.

His responsibilities were much wider than just Legal and Committee Services. For instance he had oversight of County Council elections, Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Archives, Road Safety, setting up Management Services and the new County Prosecuting Solicitors, and the Governance of many diverse bodies including Police, Probation and Cumbria Tourist Board.

He was totally committed to the public service ethic and a strong believer in County Government.

He looked well beyond the boundaries of Cumbria, being a founder member and later both Secretary and then Chairman of the Society of County Secretaries.

He was a member of the Law Society’s Planning Law Committee.

In the 1980s he served on the Child Care Advisory Panel which submitted evidence to DHSS in connection with its review of child care law.This led to the revolution of the Children Act 1989 . He was President of Carlisle and District Law Society. He was a trustee of Austin Friars school.

Alan’s belief in and commitment to Local Government was “old school”, he believed in the important role of the professions in their areas of expertise and in the direct provision of public services if possible.

Alan retired from the County Council in October 1994.

Almost immediately his developing interest in Employment Law lead to his taking up a new career as a Part Time Chairman (judge) of Employment Tribunals.

He served in this role from 1995 to 2004 sitting mainly in Newcastle and Teesside.

Alan had many interests, particularly sport, music and travel. He played Hockey for 4 Counties and ultimately he captained Cumbria.

Locally he played Hockey for Carlisle. He later became an umpire, and chairman of Selectors and secretary of the County Association.

In the summer he played behind the stumps for Irthing Vale Cricket Club. He also played golf and squash. He was a follower of Derbyshire County Cricket Club and Derby County FC.

He also liked to watch Durham County Cricket Club.

His abiding passion, however , was music. A keen bassoon player when younger he played first bassoon in the Oxford University Orchestra. He was selected for the National Youth Orchestra but sadly missed out on playing because of appendicitis.

It was typical of his generosity that when he gave up playing he donated his instrument to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music for the use of up and coming young players.

He usually found time before a performance in Glasgow or Edinburgh to have a word with the bassoon players in the Scottish Opera orchestra. He was a patron and generous benefactor to a number of Musical and cultural organisations, particularly Scottish Opera and Theatre by the Lake.

He was a regular concert goer and a great lover of Opera.

He was a prodigious opera goer. He could recount which singers he had seen and where even years later.

He travelled to many European Opera Houses and Concert Halls. He regularly visited Salzburg and Vienna and was proud to have been to the Wagner Festival at Bayreuth seven times.

Above all he was a committed supporter of the Edinburgh Festival.

August was blanked out in his diary as he headed north from his home in Scotby. He felt at home in Edinburgh and would often extol the virtues of the City ,particularly its restaurants. He made many friends through his interest in music.

He was a great traveller and not only for music.

After retiring from his Tribunal work he went to Australia each winter for a number of years for the sunshine and cricket. He spoke fondly of the country and was interested in supporting Aboriginal art. He travelled extensively in western Europe.

In later life he enjoyed holidays in Madeira.

Alan was a man of the utmost integrity who had a full and interesting life.

He made a major contribution to local government nationally and in Cumbria and to sport , music and art.

To quote a former County Solicitor Colleague “he was a highly intelligent, thoughtful, cultured and supportive man”.

Alan never married and is survived by several cousins.

  • Obituary by Brian Walker