Red tape block to honouring Hibs’ Lawrie Reilly

City chiefs have ruled out naming a street after Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Cate Gillon

City chiefs have ruled out naming a street after Lawrie Reilly. Picture: Cate Gillon

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A BID to name a new street in the shadow of Easter Road Stadium after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly is being thwarted by council red tape.

The idea of honouring the club’s greatest ever striker in a housing development beside the ground has been put forward by local councillor Alex Lunn.

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But officials say the move is impossible because council rules insist streets cannot be named after someone until at least ten years after their death.

And that would mean missing the last chance to celebrate the Famous Five star in this way, with this the final housing development envisioned for the local area.

Today the Evening News joins Cllr Lunn in launching a campaign calling for “Last-Minute” Reilly, who passed away in July at the age of 84, to receive the fitting honour.

SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN

“We the undersigned call on Edinburgh city council to name a street after Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly” Fill in the coupon printed in today’s Evening News and send it back to us or email your name and address to newsen@edinburghnews.com with the subject line “Lawrie Reilly”.

The calls have come after it was discovered the council planned to name a street in the development, off Lochend Butterfly Way, after Edinburgh printer William Thyne.

Cllr Lunn, who has gained support from Iris Reilly, Lawrie’s widow, said: “Lawrie Reilly is the best known [of the Famous Five], a Scottish football great who brought great joy to thousands of Hibees like my grandad and despair to Jambos like my dad. He was also a Scotland legend. Naming a street next to his stomping ground of Easter Road Stadium after him is the correct thing to do. It’s also in keeping with the history of the local area.”

Comment: It’s time we honoured a city legend

According to rules laid down by Edinburgh City Council, however, there is a minimum waiting time of ten years after someone has passed away before a street can be named in their honour.

A council spokeswoman said: “It is council policy that streets are not named after individuals who are living or recently deceased. Names can however be added to the appropriate street name bank to be held and used after a suitable length of time has passed.”

However, these rules do not apply in other regions, as shown when Fife Council named a new housing development Ian Rankin Court in honour of the 53-year-old author’s Cardenden birthplace.

It is also not clear whether these rules would affect the proposed renaming of Festival Square after former South African president Nelson Mandela. After he passed away earlier this month, Cllr Maggie Chapman, who represents the Leith Walk ward where the proposed Lawrie Reilly Street would be situated, put forward a motion calling for Festival Square to be renamed after him, a move which was supported by Cllr Lesley Hinds.

Mike Riley, chairman of the Hibs Supporters Club, said they would support the idea of naming a street after the striker.

He said: “It seems like the ideal opportunity and I don’t know when we’d be likely to get another one like it.”

A Hibs spokesman also said they would be pleased to see the club’s history celebrated.

He said: “Street names are a matter for the council, but it would be nice if the council were to reflect the club’s history in the area. However, specific street names would be a matter for consultation with all involved.”

Mrs Reilly said her late husband would have “thought a lot” of the proposed honour.

She said: “Lawrie was quite a modest man but I think he would really have thought a lot of that, I am sure.

“Hibs have already paid a lot of tributes to him but this would be from the city.”

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com