John Gibson: The mascot who became team boss

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Monarch of all he surveyed at one time. A time long gone, but Tommy Hughson will forever be associated with Old Meadowbank when it was the hub of speedway. He’s resurfaced in home town Edinburgh after battling ill health.

His claim to fame – and he never hesitates to claim it – is that as Edinburgh Monarchs mascot from 48 to 51 he was first round the Meadowbank track for the opening meeting against Glasgow Tigers, leading the parade on a cut-down motor bike.

A fanatical follower of the sport, he progressed to team manager of Monarchs from 67 to 69. “I had a workshop next to my house and I’d do repairs for the riders . . . welding and the like. But I was married and, call me a coward if you like, there were too many injuries and I preferred not to risk the bones.

“Also, I owned the shop virtually across the road from the track and I counted the riders, some of biggest names in speedway, as my customers. Monarchs have been racing at Armadale and it’s been good gabbing with John Campbell, Ron Anderson, Mike Hunter and Alex Harkness.”

Tommy’s know-how proved invaluable to Tom Farmer as an employee with Kwik-Fit.

Playing soldiers

Pageantry and pomp. For yonks it’s been as British as fish and chips. But ceremonial events, with the army at their core . . . the Trooping of the Colour, the Queen’s Birthday, the One O’Clock Gun . . . they’re all endangered due to our already shrunken army.

The lifeblood is being squeezed out of the armed forces. Will there be sufficient troops to go the rounds? Enough, for prime example, for our Tattoo? But don’t panic. The Boy Scouts and Girl Guides are on standby.