Charlie Fraser: What Perth Means to Me
Charlie Fraser of Aberdein Considine talks on why Perth is the ideal city for achieving a work-life balance.
Charlie Fraser is a solicitor and the founding partner of Aberdein Considine in Perth, which opened in 2004.
Originating in Aberdeen, Aberdein Considine has 19 offices across Scotland and the north of England, and more than 450 staff. As specialist lawyers, independent financial advisers, and property experts, Aberdein Considine acts for thousands of private and commercial clients across the country and is Scotland’s largest solicitor estate and leasing agent.
Charlie joined the firm in 2003, championing the opening of the Perth office, which was the company’s first foray outwith the Northeast.
Charlie is a proactive member of the local community and is currently the Vice Chair at St Johnstone Football Club, and the Secretary to St John’s Kirk Trust. He lives in Perth with his wife, a college lecturer at Perth UHI, and their three young children, and has a grown-up son who is currently studying in America.
What was the driving force behind Aberdein Considine’s move to Perth?
Perth was a fast-growing place in the early 2000s, it still is, and as well as having a thriving local business scene, there were exciting plans to expand the population. This, of course, meant lots of housebuilding – an ideal location for a solicitor with strong ties to property.
Strategically, this placed us firmly in the heart of Scotland and from here we grew in reputation and confidence. As the first satellite office, Perth showed that our product could thrive outwith the Northeast and, in the 20 years since then, we’ve opened an additional 9 offices including our first in the North of England.
And on a personal level, I wanted to be home. After 22 years in the north I enjoyed being back in the microclimate of sunny Perth.
“Im looking forward to the new Perth Museum opening next year. The Stone of Desiny will drive people to the city.”
What is it that Perth offers as a lifestyle?
For me, the opportunities for families are endless. Sporting facilities are excellent: a world-class ice rink, Perth Racecourse, championship golf courses at Gleneagles and Blairgowrie, and plenty of local clubs for kids to get involved in.
Culturally, I’m looking forward to the new Perth Museum opening next year. The Stone of Destiny will drive people to the city,benefitting businesses and adding to the existing offer for residents. Venues such as Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall have so much going for them – we should be shouting about these fantastic attractions from the rooftops!
A personal favourite of mine is St John’s Square. It’s reminiscent of continental living with the cafés and bars and dining alfresco. Likewise with the independent shops and quirky boutique-type businesses – Perth is an interesting place for visitors.
And back to location again; although we live in the city and enjoy all of these great facilities, get in the car and drive for 15 minutes and you’re amongst some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery. What’s not to like?
How important are the voluntary roles you hold within the community?
Playing a small part can make a big difference and I’ve been fortunate to find a role within two of Perth’s most iconic institutions: St John’s Kirk Trust and St Johnstone Football Club.
I grew up in St Madoes, went to school at Perth High, and discovered my love of football, golf, and theatre along the way. Now, my own children go to school here, they all play football for Fair City, there’s dance lessons and days out to the park and so much more. So, I’ve a lot to be grateful for and volunteering allows me to give something back to my city.
Without volunteers and business leaders getting involved and donating both time and money, a great many incredible assets could fall by the wayside. That’s true of towns and cities everywhere.
How did you get involved in these iconic institutions?
My dad was the minister in St Madoes when I was a child and Rev. David Ogston, the former minister at St John’s, knew him. David approached me in 2006 and invited to become secretry of the Trust, which was established to look after the fabric of the Church building. St John’s Kirk is an important building in Perth, but it also carries significant historical importance in Scotland. The Trust is responsible for raising the substantial sums required to maintain this beautiful building.
Joining Saints was a childhood dream; they’re my team, and my passion goes back to the old Muirton Park ground. I started by running the business club in the early 2000s and joined the board in 2011, stepping into the Vice Chair role in 2014. I’ve been lucky to be involved in the most successful period in St Johnstone’s history. Thanks must be given to the investment and commitment made by Geoff and Steve Brown.
I’m also an inaugural Trustee of Saints in the Community, our charity arm committed to enhancing health and wellbeing and in encouraging fitter, healthier and more active children and young people. As well as building opportunities for all local kids to play football, we also support other great initiatives such as Andy’s Man Club, and Football Memories with Alzheimer’s Scotland.
As a local charity, we provide an invaluable service to the people of Perth and I was delighted when the team were recognised in the recent Chamber of Commerce Star Awards for the work they do.
Can you sum up what Perth means to you?
There is an unassuming spirit and vibrancy about Perth. The people here don’t always shout about themselves or the city but they’ve every right to do so – we certainly punch above our weight. It is a fantastic place to do business, work, live and play, to raise a family and enjoy a night out. I’ll always be glad I came home.