Obituary: Jim Garriock, butcher, boxer, 85

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Jim Garriock, master butcher and champion boxer, has died aged 85.

Jim was born on December 25, 1929, in Lochgelly, Fife, into a family dynasty of master butchers.

They moved to Edinburgh while Jim was still very young and settled in Stockbridge. Here Jim developed a passion for keeping horseman pigeons and made lifelong friends such as Ernie Foley, Vince Di’Angelo, Otto Dickson, Tuckey McColl and Andrew Burns.

Andrew Burns went on to marry Jim’s sister Evelyn, and Ernie Foley was best man at Jim’s wedding to his beloved Isa.

Leaving school at 14, Jim was conscripted into the coalmines as a Bevin Boy at the tail end of the Second World War.

Then he joined the family butcher business, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He loved delivering the butcher meat by horse and cart around the Fettes and Craigleith areas.

When he was 18, Jim was called up to the army and shipped out to Singapore and Hong Kong. After two years, he returned home, vowing never to go abroad again 
– and he never did.

Settling back into civvy street, he returned to the meat business and in 1954 married Isabella and they moved into their first home, a single end in Lapicide, Leith.

Jim became a master butcher and opened his first shop at Raeburn Place, Stockbridge.

The sign in the window read: “Pleased to meet you – meat to please you.”

A little later, the couple moved to a house in Ryehill Terrace, where they lived for 12 years and where sons James, Steven and William were born.

Unfortunately, the businesses did not work out and eventually Jim moved to Portland Terrace, where he flew his pigeons and started coaching at Sparta Boxing Club, introducing two of his sons, Stevie and Willie, to the ring and guiding them to successful boxing careers.

Jim’s association with Sparta lasted more than 30 years.

His own interest in boxing had begun as a youngster in Stockbridge, when he worked at Charlie Cotter’s gym and sparred with leading Scottish pro and amateur boxers, including 1950 Commonwealth Games flyweight gold medal winner Hugh Riley.

And while he was stationed in Hong Kong, Jim won the army championships Far East Command welterweight boxing crown.

Son Stevie eventually became a top boxing coach with Sparta and played a key role in the rise of Paul Shepherd, who won the 1994 Commonwealth Games flyweight gold medal.

Jim became almost a second father to Shepherd, who called Jim and Isa “aunt” and “uncle”.

Isa pre-deceased Jim, but he is survived by his three sons, four grandchildren, one great grandchild and his brother.