Remembering Ronnie Rusack

Ronnie Rusack, who dedicated half a century to the revival of Scottish canals, protecting the historic assets and opening them up again to the public, a role he fulfilled alongside his day job of running the award-winning pub while also raising many thousands of pounds for charity, has died aged 72.

In 1971 Rusack was brought in by Lowland Inns to manage its first acquisition, the Bridge Inn in Ratho. He went on to become a director before buying over the premises. Having initially investigated the potential of establishing a floating restaurant on the canal, he finally got the project to fruition in 1974 with the Pride of the Union barge providing waterfront dining and function facilities.

At that time there were only six miles of navigational waterway and the vessel was reportedly the first large boat to be used on the canal since it officially closed in 1965, according to The Scotsman.

Rusack was a member of the Millennium Link Project which restored the Forth and Clyde and Union canals to their former glory; chairman of the Lowland Canal Volunteer Group; founder of the campaigning umbrella body Keep Canals Alive and a member of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council.

His Bridge Inn houses the Edinburgh Canal Centre and he was made an MBE for his contribution to the conservation and restoration of the Union Canal.

Ronald Edward Seaton Rusack MBE, publican, fundraiser and canal preservationist Born: 15 May, 1948 in Haddington. Died: 24 November, 2020 in Edinburgh, aged 72.

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