Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Doug Edmunds 1944-2020: an Nchanga legend

With Doug at Nchanga
Rugby Club, 1973

Sad news from Scotland of the death of Dr. Doug Edmunds, a fellow Nchanga metallurgist, who I worked with on the Concentrator from 1970-72, but for several years I knew via the Nchanga weighlifting and rugby clubs.

Doug was a larger than life character who crammed a wide range of experiences into his life. He initially went to Glasgow University before switching to Strathclyde, where he graduated in applied science before obtaining a Ph.D. in metallurgy. He was a Blue from both universities and in the 1960s claimed seven Scottish shot and discus titles as well as three British Universities’ titles and was Scottish weightlifting champion.

He spent three years in Zambia from 1970 and won the national heavyweight weightlifting title, organised the country’s first Highland Games, played for the national rugby team and represented Zambia at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh as well as the World Powerlifting Championships in the USA.

The photo below was taken in the Nchanga gym in 1971 and it is a sobering one as I am the sole survivor of that group, Peter Fiore dying in 2014 and metallurgist Vic Bryant last year.

Peter, Doug, Vic and me, Chingola 1971

On his return to Scotland Doug built his family milk business into one of the UK's biggest dairies, and, concentrating on the Highland Games, he won the World Caber Tossing Championship in 1976 and 1978.

But Doug was most well known for founding TV's World’s Strongest Man competition, becoming a highly recognisable figure clad in black with trademark stetson as he sat shouting instructions. He is survived by his wife, Linda, daughter, sons, four grandchildren and a great granddaughter. One of his sons, Gregor, from Doug's first wife Moira has followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a winner of a World Highland Games and Scotland's Strongest Man.

Doug was a tremendous character, a gentle giant, who I feel privileged to have known.



  1. Read the blog about Doug whom I remember well from the gym although I wasn’t in the heavy lifting group as you were. Hadn’t realised what a talented guy he was with an interesting sporting history and even more interesting stories. And that book…..’The World’s Greatest….’. I had quite a bit of intermittent contact with Doug’s mate and Highland Games planner, Colin Balchin, after leaving Chingola. He worked in the oil and gas sector in Aberdeen so bumped into him there, joined PA Management Consultants a couple of years after me and finally I was offered a job as project engineer based in Hereford by his brother in the mid-70s. It continues to be a small world.
    Alan Minty, Wilmslow, UK

    1. Hi Alan. Yes I remember Colin Balchin. He and Doug organised a Highland Games in Chingola. As well as the usual strength events there were also track events, and Colin was a good pole-vaulter. He won that event as he was the only entry! I remember being on the weightlifting club's 4X400 metres relay team- the last time I ever tried to sprint 400 metres.
      Doug's autobiography- "The World's Greatest Tosser" is available on Amazon
      Best wishes to you and Sheila


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