Fans in Capital Give A Little Love as Rollers honoured

Graeme Whitehead, Derek Longmuir, Alan Longmuir and Lord Provost Donald Wilson
Graeme Whitehead, Derek Longmuir, Alan Longmuir and Lord Provost Donald Wilson
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It was less Bye Bye Baby and more Shang-A-Lang in Haymarket as Rollermania arrived in the Capital.

Emotions were running at fever pitch for hundreds of diehard Bay City Roller fans lucky enough to catch a glimpse of original band members Alan and Derek Longmuir.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson squashed into a packed Ryrie’s Bar with the Tartan Terror brothers for the unveiling of a plaque honouring the Edinburgh band’s achievements.

The homecoming was a particularly poignant moment for the Lord Provost, Councillor Donald Wilson, who pinned the rise of the band as “Dalry’s finest hour”.

Hailing from Caledonian Road, also the street where guitarist Alan once lived, he has proudly counted Ryrie’s Bar as his local of 25 years.

Cllr Wilson said: “This occasion gives me a sense of deja vu and brings back fond memories of that time so it’s local not just to Edinburgh but this is local to my area of the city, which is why I was determined to be here today.”

The Lord Provost drew back the tartan curtains to reveal a plaque donated by Belfast Roller fan Margaret Black.

“This is a moment of pride for the city and for the area on a day that celebrates Scotland,” he said.

“What this event shows is the loyalty and level of dedication of the Bay City Roller fans and today is a manifestation of that and the excitement that is still very much alive.”

A sea of tartan-clad fans squeezed into the bar, many of whom had travelled from across the country to show their continued support for a band that captured their hearts in the 70s. It was so busy that some couldn’t even get inside.

The plaque was the brainchild of superfan Graeme Whitehead, 58, from Niddrie and fellow Roller addicts Gillan Watkins and Elaine Stewart.

Graeme admitted that it was disappointing that the full line-up couldn’t make it but still declared the “overwhelming” occasion a success.

He said: “I was hoping at least four of them would have turned up but it was not to be – they’re missing the party.”

Ryrie’s was chosen as the location for the plaque as it was Alan’s local and the first place he would visit after touring the world when the band were at the height of their fame.

Alan told the Evening News: “It is a great, great honour to me to be here and have the plaque in Ryrie’s – it used to be my local.

“I used to come here most nights after I finished work on Haymarket Terrace and if I had a gig to play at night, I used to come in to the pub for a couple of pints before.

“And still, every time I come back to Edinburgh, I come back to Ryrie’s.”

Alan thanked the continued support of fans for a life he believed was finished decades ago.

He said: “I was in the band and then got a cracking wee job as a bylaws inspector and would zoom about the country in a postman pat van.

“Then I lost my job at 65 and thought that was it but now that’s me back with the band. It’s a bizarre life!”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk