‘Bowling club kicked me out of my grandad’s wake’

Calvin Smith, left, with his father Sherwyn. Picture: Jane Barlow

Calvin Smith, left, with his father Sherwyn. Picture: Jane Barlow

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A GRIEF-STRICKEN grandson was turfed out of his grandfather’s wake by a bowling club due to a bitter row over cash.

Calvin Smith, of Gracemount, was allowed just four hours of toasting his departed grandad Peter Smith before Gilmerton Bowling Club officials stepped in and ejected him – despite 90-year-old Peter being the club’s honorary president and a member of 37 years.

Calvin's late grandfather Peter Smith. Picture: Jane Barlow

Calvin's late grandfather Peter Smith. Picture: Jane Barlow

They said non-members of the private club had always faced a 4.30pm curfew.

A “well known and much loved” member of the local community, Peter, originally from Belize, arrived in Scotland as a tree feller in 1939.

His funeral service, which took place at Mortonhall Crematorium on Tuesday morning, was attended by more than 400 mourners.

However, just hours later, family and friends looked on aghast as his 20-year-old grandson, a former glass 
collector at the 500-member club, was sent packing by officials.

It is alleged that the unseemly incident was linked to Calvin being awarded a £500 payout for unfair dismissal from an employment tribunal last November.

But club bosses claimed that they had only allowed him to return as a “mark of respect” to Peter, who passed away at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on March 18.

Calvin’s father, Sherwyn, 45, said: “It really is petty and vindictive on their part. This is all payback for Calvin’s tribunal last year. We had provisionally booked a nearby hotel for the afters but were talked into hosting it at the club after being assured that Calvin had been given special dispensation to return.

“I can’t believe they’d ruin our day like this over just £500. The top lounge was packed with mourners after the service so they surely have made that back on the bar anyway.

“Why would we choose to host the afters in the club if we knew Calvin would be turfed out?

“My father was widely respected and had a lot of friends at the club, I can’t believe they’d stoop to this at his funeral.”

It is claimed by club officials that the contentious 4.30pm eviction of non-members is a longstanding rule.

Club president Bill Aitchison said: “It’s common practice within the club to ask non-members attending private functions to leave by 4.30pm.

“We are a private members’ club and therefore can refuse service to anyone we wish. Peter was a brilliant man and it is out of respect to him that we gave dispensation for Calvin to return. There is no hint of discrimination here on our part whatsoever.”

Asked whether anyone at the club had informed Calvin of the curfew, Mr Aitchison explained that he had only recently taken up the position of president and that he “assumed that everyone had known the rules”.

But Calvin said: “I never heard of that rule in all my time working there and I wasn’t told of it before my grandad’s funeral neither.

“The first I knew of it was when I went to the bar to order some drinks and was refused service. The day was always going to be tough anyway but this has really ruined it for myself and my family.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com