David MacPhail, driving force behind MacPhail’s Coaches of Shotts, has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 71.

After leaving school at the age of 16, David joined the family business, which was founded by his father Daniel Scott MacPhail in 1948.

Memorable for his “deep voice and gregarious character”, David was popular with passengers and other operators alike. He spent a great number of years on the road, driving day trips to locations such as Blackpool or Torquay, and enjoyed taking in Europe – especially Austria, and German resorts – before he took over running of the business with his brother Henry in the 1980s.

David in 2021

David was instrumental in leading the business into the extended holiday market, which his father had been reluctant to do. “If there was a destination in Europe to drive to, he’d drive to it,” recalls son and current MacPhail’s Director Martin MacPhail. “David saw the future of the business moving away from the traditional Fords or Leylands towards Volvo vehicles. He was at the forefront of taking MacPhail’s into the next chapter in its life.”

David retired in 2001 but would continue on in an advisory role. A shrewd businessman and straight-talking individual, his wife Sarah once joked that David’s favourite colour was “the colour of money”. He was also exceptionally kind and generous, and wanted to spread his success with his family.

“My father really loved people,” adds Martin. “He was a people person. He loved being involved with the day trips, loved running the business, and was a true businessman. A very old-school member of the industry.

David (right) and brother Henry as children.

“David will be sorely missed. There is a big gap to fill. He will be well remembered for his kindness, generosity and his friendship, and above all, he will remembered as being someone you could trust and depend on. David was renowned for calling a spade a spade… a very straight talker.”

As well as Martin, David is survived by his wife Sarah, and sons Christopher, Scott, Simon, and Graeme. Sadly, his eldest daughter Nicola passed away several years ago after a battle with cancer.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to St Andrew’s Hospice or Macmillan Cancer Support.