Edinburgh councillors back motion to name city street or part of new Sick Kids hospital after Tom Gilzean

Councillors have backed a motion to name an Edinburgh street or part of the new Sick Kids hospital after legendary city fundraiser Tom Gilzean.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 12:23 pm

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets of Edinburgh on Tuesday to pay tribute to one of the city’s most loved and inspirational figures. At his funeral service at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Tom was described as an "ornament of Edinburgh" by Archbishop Leo Cushley.

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Tom, 99, died on November 4th in veterans’ hospital Erskine House in the Capital following a series of small strokes.

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The Edinburgh Evening News subsequently launched a petition to give backing to calls for a prominent Edinburgh street to be names after the well-loved figure. It now has nearly 4,500 signatories.

You can sign the petition HERE. And a motion put forward by the Lord Provost Frank Ross was backed today by councillors.

The official Edinburgh City Council twitter account said: "The Lord Provost’s calls for Tom Gilzean’s name to be added to our street naming bank will be considered after agreement from Cllrs.

"His Motion also details Tom’s huge contribution to the Sick Kids & how this might be considered in the naming of the new hospital."

Tom Gilzean.

The Lord Provost's motion also acknowledged the "enormous contribution" Tom made to the city, especially his sizeable fundraising effort which made him so iconic in the Capital.

The motion states: "Council therefore recommends that the Development Management Sub-Committee, give this consideration with a strong recommendation from Full Council that Tom’s name is added to the street names bank with a view to an appropriate street or area being named after him.

"Council also requests the Lord Provost write to the Scottish Government to ask them to consider recognising Tom’s contribution to Edinburgh and the Children’s hospital when naming the new hospital."

A lifelong charity supporter, in the 1920s and 1930s Tom would help out at the Royal Infirmary Parade along Princes Street and walked the length of the street collecting cash to help pay for hospitals and doctors long before the NHS.

He served in World War II as a Sapper in the army and landed in France in October 1944 as a member of 30 Armoured Corps Royal Engineers. During his time there he helped in the liberation of France and the Netherlands.

Tom later took to the streets of the Capital to stave off depression and began raising money for causes such as the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity and the Erskine care home for veterans.

2015 saw him become the eighth recipient to be honoured with the coveted Edinburgh Award, following in the footsteps of the likes of Ian Rankin, JK Rowling and Sir Chris Hoy - but he was the first to be honoured for charity work and philanthropy.

In June this year he received an MBE for his services after raising more than £1 million for charity.