Born in December 1936, John Mather grew up in Bearsden and his early childhood spanned the period of the Second World War. He went to the local secondary school at a time when it was the norm for ordinary kids in the West of Scotland to take on an apprenticeship, rather than going to University.
It was also the era of a job for life and when John took on the role of office boy in the accounts department of the Clyde Navigational Trust, he would never work anywhere else until his retirement in the late 1990s after 40 years service. During that time he not only rose steadily through the ranks to become Managing Director, but he was also appointed as the globetrotting President of the International Association of Ports and Harbours.
In 1966, the Clyde Navigation Trust, the Greenock Harbour Trust and the Clyde Lighthouses Trust merged to form the Clyde Port Authority. By 1980, John had been appointed Managing Director; he had the foresight to see that the world was changing and that ports offered a huge opportunity in a world of increasingly global trade.
With John at the helm, the Clyde Port Authority, then owner of Glasgow, Greenock and Ardrossan ports, was privatised in 1992 and Clydeport bought the port of Hunterston near Largs on the Scottish West Coast in 1993.
The company successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1994. The deal brought John £11million and transformed not only his life, but the lives of many of his colleagues.
Having come from relatively humble beginnings, John believed passionately that lack of funds should not stop young people from being able to further their chosen careers. In setting up the John Mather Trust, it was his express wish to make many small awards.
Trustee, Professor George Fleming says "The Trust was set up to provide little things that can make a big difference to people; not grandstanding donations but to give small amounts of assistance to the maximum number of people.
"I believe that even if the privatisation had never happened, with whatever money John had, he'd have done this anyway."