Former Edinburgh Evening News sports reporter Craigie Veitch passes away aged 93
Former Edinburgh Evening News sports reporter and renowned after-dinner speaker Craigie Veitch has died aged 93 after suffering from dementia.
Craigie, who died on Tuesday, started work at the Evening News aged just 14 in 1943, before retiring in 1986. He then went on to enjoy a successful career as an after-dinner speaker, rubbing shoulders with famous faces, mostly in the world of sport, including Graeme Souness and Jim Leishman.
Craigie and his wife Christian, 92, married in 1957 and had two daughters, Christian and Constance, as well as three grandchildren. He had been poorly for some time as he suffered from dementia, and lived the last three years of his life in Strachan House Care Home on Craigcrook Road.
His daughter Christian and the family want to raise awareness of dementia and will also raise funds for dementia charities at his funeral, which is still to be arranged.
She said: “We saw a gradual decline in dad as he got worse. He was a fantastic wordsmith obviously with him being a journalist, so to see him not able to utter a word, it was just horrifying.
"We will be raising funds at his funeral for dementia charities. More people are talking about dementia and we want to continue to raise awareness. As it’s a cruel disease that really impacts families.”
Christian revealed why her Hearts supporter dad left journalism in the 1980s, when newsrooms were transformed by the introduction of computers.
"Dad joined the Evening News when he was 14, his mother literally dragged him to the Scotsman publication doors as she could see the potential in him and didn’t want to see him waste it,” said Christian.
"He started off humphing the papers into the back of the vans. And he met my mother while working there.
"He left the Evening News really because computers were coming in. Dad being the unfashionable gentleman, he couldn’t cope with it.”
Born in Yeaman Place in Fountainbridge, Craigie lived in Edinburgh all his life, moving to Silverknowes 60 years ago. He was a great dog walker and would often be seen down Silverknowes Beach with his dog.
Christian added: "Everybody liked dad. He was one of those people that could walk into any room and make conversation with anyone. He never had a bad word for anybody.
"He was a great reader of books and he loved his crosswords. He actually compiled a couple of the Scotsman crosswords.”
After leaving the Evening News, Craigie became a renowned after-dinner speaker, talking at engagements across the globe, rubbing shoulders with famous faces, after being childhood friends with perhaps Edinburgh’s most famous son.
Christina said: "Dad was pals growing up with Sean Connery. Sean wrote to him a couple of times thanking him for his wit and humour.
"He was the best after-dinner speaker out there. Working with the likes of Bill Barclay, Graeme Souness and Jim Leishman, lots of famous people like that, mostly from football.
"He had a wonderful life. He went all over the world for after-dinner speaking. Because he was on the sports desk at the Evening News he got asked to do the after-dinner speaking circuit and meet some wonderful famous people, and he attended wonderful dinners including one with King Charles.
"His close buddy was his Evening News colleague John Gibson, who got him tickets to see some major music acts including the Rolling Stones. I think they were old dancing partners at the Pally back in the day.”