Solicitor with a heart of gold dies at 73

Date: Tuesday 3rd July 2018

A “TRUE gentleman” with a “heart of gold” is how friends and colleagues will remember solicitor Andrew Duff, who died peacefully at home at the age of 73, after a battle with cancer.

Born Hugh Andrew Scott Duff to parents who were both dental surgeons, he grew up near Derby and attended Denstone College, Staffordshire, where he excelled in sports, particularly rugby, athletics and rowing.

He qualified as a solicitor in 1969 and became a partner in his firm at Coleshill, Birmingham, in 1971. However, in 1973 the family relocated to the Lakes, where Andrew loved the fell walking and outdoor life. He initially commuted to a job in Blackburn, but, in 1977, decided to set up his own business in Penrith.

Deciding that A Duff Solicitor was not the best name for a successful business, he used a middle name and Scott Duff and Co was born. He found his first premises at 41 King Street, where he screwed a brass plate to the wall and set off.

He teamed up with Kathy Sidey (now Jenkins), who he knew from his Derby days, and he carried out all matters of litigation while Kathy focused on wills, probate and conveyancing, so a full service could be offered to clients from day one. On their first day of opening, they wrote each other’s wills to give them something to do.

As the business grew, more staff were needed and one of the first additions was Steven Marsh, who is still at the firm as the most senior director. New offices opened in Carlisle and Keswick and the company now has more than 20 staff.

Over the years, Andrew found his specialism in clinical negligence litigation and worked from the newly opened Keswick office, where he could walk in the Lakes at lunchtimes. He had planned to stay there until his retirement, which all the staff believed would be well into his 90s. However, ill health forced him to retire in 2015, after 51 years in law.

He was extremely dedicated to and loved the stimulation of his professional work. Those who knew him and worked with him said he was courteous, kind and a good and loyal boss. The firm he founded recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

He accrued many professional and public appointments throughout his career, including being a senior litigator in the Association of Personal Injury, on which he was also a member of the clinical negligence panel; a member of the Headway Brain Association; member of the Law Society personal injury panel; chairman of the Legal Aid Board appeals panel for Carlisle and Newcastle in the early 90s; carried out pro bono work for the Citizens Advice Bureau, and was a trustee of the Cumbria Scanner Appeal, raising funds for the first CT scanner at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle. He was also a churchwarden at St Andrew’s, Penrith, and a member of the Round Table for many years.

Outside work, he had a huge love of the outdoors and a wide interest in outdoor pursuits. He took many trekking holidays in Nepal, Scotland and other mountainous places. He also gained a degree in Italian, after falling in love with the country during a holiday. He was a keen grower of fruit and vegetables and made his own marmalade and bread.

He married his second wife, Susan (nee Errington), in 1985 and the couple made their home at Rawhead Farm, Bampton. He is survived by Susan, his children Estella, Graham and Sally, and grandchildren John, Phoebe and Robbie.