Legendary fundraiser Tom Gilzean's family collect his MBE in Edinburgh

Son thanks the Capital for helping his dad top £1m in donations

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 6:38 pm
Tom Gilzean

PROUD family of legendary fundraiser Tom Gilzean have thanked Evening News readers for their support after collecting his MBE posthumously.

Tom died in May, aged 99, knowing he had been awarded the gong for raising more than £1m for charity but too ill to make the trip to Buckingham Palace to collect it in person.

Son Douglas Gilzean was among family to be presented with the honour by Lord Provost Frank Ross at City Chambers this afternoon.

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"The family are so very proud to receive this on behalf of my father,” said Douglas, 68. “He would’ve loved to have been here to get it himself.

“My father loved the publicity he got every time it happened because he said he always got more money.

“People would see him on Princes Street and say they’d seen him on TV or in the papers and he’d rattle his can and get more money.

“The Evening News was very good to him and supported him throughout his campaign - the family are proud and humbled.”

Tom became an iconic figure with his collecting tin and trademark tartan trousers on Princes Street and the Royal Mile.

He died in veterans' hospital Erskine House on November 4 just months before his 100th birthday following a series of small strokes.

At his funeral, well-wishers lined Princes Street to applaud the cortege carrying his tartan coffin as it went by.

Douglas said his father had been unable to travel to Buckingham Palace in the summer to collect his MBE because he had two broken hips.

And he vowed to continue fundraising for his father's charity, the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, having already reached £10,000 since his death.

The whole family and close friends from a local restaurant where Tom would eat lunch every were at the 5pm ceremony, including daughter Maureen, 72.

Tom received the Edinburgh Award in 2015 and his MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list in 2019.

A bus driver for Lothian Buses, he also served with the Royal Engineers from 1938 to 1946 as a dispatch rider and in mine clearance.

He was buried at Mount Vernon in Edinburgh beside his late wife Anne in November.

The Clydesdale Bank branch on George Street - where Tom would deposit his tin collections - is holding an open day on his birthday on May 12 when he would have been 100.

Presenting the MBE, Cllr Ross said: “It is my honour and privilege to bestow, on the Queen’s behalf, the MBE to the family of the late Tom Gilzean.

“Tom Gilzean, Laird O’ the Mile, is a legend in Edinburgh.”