Tributes have been paid to Allan MacKay, the former President of Boroughmuir Rugby Club, who has died aged 85.
Described as having been around “forever”, he was a constant presence at the club until his death on March 2. Mr Mackay was also a keen supporter of Marie Curie Cancer Care, using his position within the club to help raise money for a cause close to his heart.
Following the loss of his wife Betty, his partner of over 50 years, to pancreatic cancer, Mr MacKay became a member of the Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh development board, using his contacts to help support his fundraising.
Head coach Bruce Aitchison said: “It was a great way to raise funds and awareness for Marie Curie. From donation boxes at matches to the Marie Curie crest on the jerseys, we knew how passionate he was and we were happy to help.”
Supporting Mr Mackay’s cause proved to be a fitting way to pay back one of the club’s most loyal servants.
Having picked up rugby as a pupil at Boroughmuir High School, he joined Boroughmuir Rugby Club shortly after and, apart from a period spent working in England, he remained with the club his whole life.
He had a number of roles within the club, but it was for his passion of the game that he will be most fondly remembered.
Boroughmuir Bears back row Roy Stewart spoke of his enthusiasm. He said: “He was always in the club after training and would chat to all the players, asking us how we were and how training had gone. He called us ‘his boys’. ”
In June 2014, Mr Mackay’s services to the community were recognised when he was selected to be among the 4000 volunteers to carry the Queen’s Baton in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games.
Mr Aitchison said: “When he did his stretch from the West End up Lothian Road, I couldn’t tell you how many people were there to cheer him on. It spoke of his popularity that so many people had come to see him.”
Following news of his death, social media was flooded with tributes paying respect to a true gentleman.
Among them was a message posted on the Bill McLaren Foundation Facebook page, written by former Australian rugby union player David Campese.
He said: “A great man who had a great smile on this very knowledgeable face. Rugby is losing too many great gentlemen who are the backbone of our great sport.”
Fiona Bushby, fundraising manager at the Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh, described Mr MacKay as an “immense asset” to the hospice.
She said: “He was a true ambassador for the charity and we could never thank him enough.”
Mr MacKay, whose funeral was on Friday, is survived by children Avril and Murray, and grandchildren Lisa, Chris, Katie, Scott, Elliot and Hugh.