Staff mourn founder

Office supplies entrepreneur Tom Flockhart dies aged 73

Tom Flockhart
Driven Tom Flockhart

Tom Flockhart, a familiar figure on the Edinburgh business scene, has died after losing a short battle with cancer. He was 73.

Mr Flockhart, who is survived by his four children Pamela, Stuart, Neil and Lynsey, seven grandchildren, and his partner Mandy, set up office supplies company Capital Document Solutions in 1979.

He was proud of his modest roots as an adopted child growing up in a council house in Prestonpans, East Lothian.  He credited his upbringing and his school years at Preston Lodge High School with giving him the drive to build his business.

He was also generous with his philanthropic activities, but remained low key about his support of many projects and causes over the decades. 

He was passionate about his backing of the arts in Scotland, which saw him actively support the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Scottish Opera, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Lynn Harrison, Mr Flockhart’s PA for the past 17 years, said: “We are all in shock. To describe him as larger than life doesn’t do him justice. He was passionate, driven and once you met him, you certainly couldn’t forget him.”

He would often recall how during his apprenticeship at Ferranti he was given what he regarded as his most important career advice when his boss advised him to get a job in sales. In 1970, he took that advice, securing a role with 3M selling photocopiers. Using part of the proceeds from a house sale, he set up his own business, initially called Capital Copying Services in a small office in Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh.

Capital Document Solutions is now Scotland’s largest independent supplier of office technology and a major employer with bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

Ms Harrison said “He was working right up until the end, still going over documents and putting in his thoughts and ideas for a Scottish Government tender.”

Those tender documents were part of the firm’s work on the Scottish Procurement Framework Agreement for Office Equipment – which only came into existence in 2009 after Mr Lockhart’s extensive lobbying. He demonstrated how Scotland-based firms were unable to bid for Scottish public sector contracts, leading to a significant change by the Holyroood Government.

Earlier, in the 1990s, he also played a huge role in cleaning up the office equipment sector which was rife with bad practice and customer dissatisfaction. He worked with Edinburgh MP Nigel Griffiths to expose a major scam in the copier sector, which led to sweeping finance and leasing reforms and gave greater control and clarity to customers.

A funeral will be held at Warriston Crematorium at Noon on 10 May, followed by a celebration of his life at Prestonfield House Hotel from 2pm. Family flowers only.

His  family have received so many messages of condolence and comments about the impact or impression Tom made on so many people that they have set up a special email address to collect memories of him –

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