A BRONZE bust of Edinburgh snooker legend Bert Demarco is to be unveiled at the snooker hall which bears his name.
Demarco, referred to as Scotland’s “Godfather of Snooker”, died last year at the age of 87, after suffering a stroke.
The bronze bust, which local sculptress Deirdre Nicholls created using film and photographs of the late legend, plus the input and facial measurements from two of his sons, will be unveiled in the Bert Demarco Matchroom in the Corn Exchange on Thursday night.
The ceremony will be attended by his family and many of the friends he made over his career as a snooker player and businessman, including 99-year-old former Lothian and Borders firemaster Dr Frank Rushbrook. Dr Rushbrook sponsored the creation of the bust after having one made for his late son, finance expert Ian Rushbrook, who died in 2008 after suffering a heart attack.
Bert Demarco Jnr, 65, who lives in Barnton and has now passed the running of the family snooker hall empire on to his own son Paul, said: “Frank and my father were extremely close friends and he wanted to do something to ensure my father would be remembered by future generations.
“We were initially a bit torn over whether to go ahead with it. My father was a very modest and shy man and would probably have thought it was a bit over the top. But Frank persisted until we finally agreed.”
It took a year for the bust to be finished, with Mr Demarco Jnr and his brother Ramon allowing Ms Nicholls to measure their heads to give her a better idea of their father’s dimensions.
Mr Demarco Jnr said: “It was quite a strange and emotional experience, watching the bust take shape. I keep wanting to tap it on the head because I used to do that to my dad.”
The bust will overlook Bert Snr’s favourite table in the Bert Demarco Matchroom.
During his competitive career, which began in the 1940s and carried on until the 1980s, Demarco was named the Scottish amateur snooker champion six times, Scottish billiards champion on four occasions and was seven times East of Scotland snooker champion.
He opened his first snooker hall, Morningside’s Angle Club, in 1975. The family business eventually expanded across the Capital and to Glasgow and Livingston. Their premises included the largest snooker hall in Europe – Marco’s Leisure Centre in Grove Street, which boasted 65 tables.