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SIR ALICK RANKIN's memorial service on Monday at St John's Church in Edinburgh was a fittingly distinguished affair for one of Scotland's greatest businessmen.

The Scottish & Newcastle boss, who saw off a hostile bid by Elders and went on to buy Courage, turning S&N into Britain's biggest brewer, was remembered by a galaxy of the great and the good. Sir Alick was also the mastermind behind the merger of General Accident and Commercial Union to create CGU, keeping many jobs in Scotland in the process.

The emotional memorial service included an aria from Sir Alick's daughter and a violin lament from Mull, one of his favourite places. The church was packed with more than 800 people and the service was relayed to two hotels for hundreds of others who couldn't get in.

Those attending included Sir Angus Grossart, of Noble Grossart, who had done most of the inviting, Bruce Patullo former governor of the Bank of Scotland, and Lord Nixon, another former chairman of Scottish & Newcastle, who made a speech about Sir Alick.

He observed that Sir Alick was sent down from Christ Church College, Oxford, along with his friend David Scholey (later Sir David) for running an illicit roulette game. The next time the two names appeared together was when they both appeared on the honours list.

Sir David was knighted while Sir Alick received a CBE, being knighted a year later. The story was greeted with much mirth.

Looking around at the massed ranks of Scottish society, Mike Foster, formerly of Courage, observed "the happiest people today will be the grouse".

The reception was held afterwards at the Caledonian Hotel, which was also hosting several famous visitors to the Edinburgh Festival. Sir Jimmy Saville and actor Sean Connery both looked somewhat bemused at the procession of famous financiers.

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KEITH GOODMAN, a senior partner with insolvency experts Leonard Curtis, is preparing Lizard Events Ltd for a creditors meeting on 3 September.

The company was formed especially to celebrate the eclipse but didn't sell enough tickets and went bust.

Lizard Events was formed by brothers Steven and Ian Barlow, to put on a seven-day festival at Goonhilly Down on the Lizard at the toe of Cornwall.

Kulah Shaker, The Levellers, and James were just some of the top bands slated to perform. (If you don't recognise any of the names, ask someone younger). But the mini-festival lost masses of money, the Barlow brothers claim, because local police would not allow them to sell tickets at the entry gate.

Mr Goodman says that finding the creditors has been a difficult task but he wants to bring this to a quick conclusion. And is Mr Goodman a Kulah Shaker fan himself? "No. I'm more a Dire Straits man."

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SPEAKING OF endangered businesses, one of the UK's oldest fancy leather goods businesses - James Homer, Walsall, has been saved from the liquidators. The saviours are the London-based leather designers and manufacturers G Ettinger.

Robert Ettinger, managing director, says that his quick action has saved the 110-year-old Walsall business from certain closure and secured the jobs of around 25 employees.

Mr Ettinger now wants to invest in new technology at the firm in order to produce a brand new collection of leather gift and accessories carrying the Royal Warrant, thanks to the company's appointment by the Prince of Wales.

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COMING TO a bookshop near you next month: Hot Groups by Jean Lipman- Blumen and Harold J Leavitt. No, not a book about Kulah Shaker and the like.

The subtitle: Seeding them, Feeding them, and using them to ignite your organisation gives the game away. It's the latest American management fad.

According to the blurb, the duo "make a passionate case of injecting strategic disorder into disciplined organisations".

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