My Grandad, John Galloway Wallace, OBE, is due to turn 100 next month. Born on the eve of the First World War and qualified as a Fellow of the Faculty early in the Second World War, he is a shining example of why pension schemes have found themselves with such deficits - when he was born, average life expectancy was about 50 and he is double that!
But while others bemoan the high costs of providing pensions to the older generations, I say we should remember to celebrate how wonderful it is that his four children, 10 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren have enjoyed and are still enjoying his intelligence, subtle wit and wry smile, not to mention his stories.
As he has been telling me since I first started studying to be an actuary, Grandad qualified in the last set of exams before they were suspended for the Second World War. He then went on to see Europe through the eyes of the army, having omitted to mention his qualification on his forms to join up, as actuaries were a protected profession.
In his heart, he remained an actuary and took the chance to look up actuaries across Europe, making great links in Belgium and Italy. In Belgium he found that many actuarial textbooks had been destroyed in the war, and arranged for the Faculty to send some over.
However, building links was not so successful on one occasion in Italy when, wearing full British Army uniform, he knocked on the door of a prominent actuary and professor. Next thing a car was heard speeding away and he was told the gentleman was not at home. Turns out the professor thought he was about to be arrested! Back at home after the war, he became heavily involved with the Faculty, becoming president in 1973. He continued with his international focus and made a big effort to build links internationally, particularly in South Africa.
Over the years, his life has contained much to be proud of - chief executive of Scottish Life, president of the Faculty of Actuaries, president of the Chartered Institute of Insurers, an OBE for services to the Sick Kids Hospital and the health service in Edinburgh, not to mention climbing all the Munros and Corbetts.
The whole family is immensely proud of his long life, contributing so much to family life, the actuarial world and society in general. Happy 100th, Grandad - here's to longevity!