Hibs set to honour fan with applause

Shaun McKinley passed away at 34. Picture; Ian Georgeson
Shaun McKinley passed away at 34. Picture; Ian Georgeson
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The life of a long-standing Hibs fan who inspired former manager Alan Stubbs to donate his Cup final medal for charity will be marked by thunderous applause at Friday’s home game against Dundee United.

Shaun McKinley, 34, passed away on Hogmanay after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in March last year.

He was visited by the club’s former manager shortly before the club won the Scottish Cup in May.

And after visiting Shaun, Stubbs, who survived his own battle with cancer in 1999, encouraged Hibs to buy the medal from him for a five-­figure sum.

He then donated the money to three worthwhile causes, one of which was Shaun’s choice.

The strength of the club’s tight-knit community will show when fellow supporters join together in a round of applause for Shaun, 34 minutes into the game at Easter Road.

The life-long fan announced his diagnosis on the Club’s popular forum Hibees Bounce on March 15 last year.

The online community rallied to support the young dad-of-two who was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare cancer which develops in the soft tissue, bone and muscle, at the age of 33.

Sharing his condition with fellow fans, Shaun told the story of how a suspected backache turned out to be the ­difficult-to-detect cancer.

He said in March: “I go in [to hospital] expecting them to diagnose a muscle condition because I’m pretty much aching and stiff all upper body.

“After a chest X-ray the girl on duty says it looks like cancer and is all over my chest and lungs. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Shaun, who was known online as “The Proclaimer”, suffered a rapid deterioration, dying just nine months after being diagnosed.

And his dad, Gordon McKinley, also a member of the Hibs community, has called on friends, supporters and the “Hibernian family” to commemorate his life with a minute of applause during the first half of the Championship match.

Gordon took to the Bounce forum, where Shaun was a well-known contributor for nearly 14 years, to also thank the community for their support in the wake of the family’s tragic loss.

He said: “Thanks for the hundreds of wonderful messages, e-mails, texts etc of support from players, directors and the supporters who make Hibernian the extraordinary club Shaun loved. What a great bunch of people.”

A Hibernian spokesperson said: “Everyone at Hibernian was saddened to learn of Shaun’s passing.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Shaun, who had hoped to spend Christmas at home with his family, had to be readmitted to the hospice shortly after leaving on Christmas Eve.

He spent his remaining days surrounded by his close family including his two sons and wife Aiobheann.

Gordon announced his son’s passing on Hogmanay and asked supporters to raise a glass to his “brave son who passed away peacefully at 17.15 tonight”.

fiona.pringle@edinburghnews.com