Hearts fans plan Ibrox tribute for late soldier

Shaun Cole with his mother Michele Beattie. Picture: comp
Shaun Cole with his mother Michele Beattie. Picture: comp
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Hearts fans are calling for a minute’s applause to take place during tomorrow’s game against Rangers in memory of a young Edinburgh soldier who died while on holiday with friends.

Private Shaun Cole was found lying in a pool of his own blood on a pavement in Miami, Florida, last weekend.

We want you all to celebrate his life because everybody loved him

Michele Beattie

Local police said they suspected the 22-year-old Afghanistan veteran, who had been in the city to attend the Ultra Music Festival with two friends from the Capital, was the victim of a hit-and-run.

Now big-hearted football fans from across the city have launched an online campaign to pay tribute to the soldier during the 22nd minute of tomorrow’s game at Ibrox.

And Jambos winger Jamie Walker, a friend of the young soldier, is understood to be planning to wear a black armband and a T-shirt bearing the words “RIP Shaun Cole” 
underneath his strip.

A post on the Hearts FC Fan Facebook page read: “Everyone travelling to Ibrox on Sunday please be aware both sets of fans will be standing up and honouring the life of a friend, a hero and a huge Jambo on the 22nd min of the game. R.I.P Shaun always in our hearts.”

Since his death, dozens of cards, flowers and football memorabilia have been left outside Pte Cole’s Gorgie home and his former school, Tynecastle High.

The soldier, who served in the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland 
(1 SCOTS), had recently returned from Sierra Leone where he had been involved in the Ebola aid effort and had previously served in Afghanistan.

Family and friends described him as an “incredible young man” with “a flair for life”.

On Wednesday night, a gathering at the New Yorker snooker bar in Restalrig saw his devastated mum, Michele Beattie, pay tribute to her “amazing, happy, happy, happy, boy”.

The 52-year-old said: “We want you all to celebrate his life because everybody loved him and everybody is genuinely here for him.”

She also told those gathered at the club that she had been “destroyed” by his death. Friend Jamie Lothian, who arranged Wednesday night’s gathering and had been on holiday with Pte Cole when the incident happened, said he was “the nicest person I ever met in my entire life”.

He added: “It melted my heart to see so many different faces from all over Edinburgh all there to show their respects and love.”

The idea of a minute’s 
applause during the game was backed by Hearts fan groups, with Tom Watson, chair of the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, welcoming it as a “fitting tribute”.

On Thursday, it was revealed a second hit-and-run had taken place near the festival in Miami just hours before Pte Cole’s body was found, but police sais the two incidents were not believed to be linked.