Gone but not forgotten: A tribute to the Capital's lost in 2016

We loved them, and they'll all be missed

Friday, 30th December 2016, 9:20 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:43 am
Ronnie Corbett died in 2016.


Gareth Hoskins, 48

Died January

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Bill Kyle of the Jazz Club passed away in late 2016.

One of Scotland’s leading architects suffered a heart attack during a fencing match. He had been working on plans to turn the old Royal High School into a luxury hotel, as well as a long-term overhaul of the National Museum of Scotland and an extension to the Scottish National Gallery. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among those paying tribute.

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, renowned aviator, 97

Died February

Born and raised in Leith, he became the most decorated pilot of the Royal Navy for his derring-do. After the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy as a Fleet Air Arm pilot, earning his nickname Winkle because of his short stature. He shot down his first enemy planes while on the HMS Audacity – and was one of the few survivors when it was torpedoed. His skills saw him become a test pilot and he went on to fly 487 different types of aircraft – more than any other pilot ever. He piloted 2407 aircraft carrier landings – including the very first one – and survived 11 plane crashes. He was witness to the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp and took part in interrogations of leading Nazis. After the war he regularly risked his life, pushing the boundaries of jet aviation.

106 year old Sam Martinez passed away but got to see his beloved Hibs win the Scottish Cup.

Ronnie Corbett, comedy legend, 85

Died March

Brought up in Marchmont, he was educated at the James Gillespie School and the Royal High. By the age of 15 Corbett was already taking to the stage to play the wicked aunt in a pantomime at his local church youth club. He was soon spotted by David Frost, who invited him to join Ronnie Barker and John Cleese in The Frost Report. But he and Barker got their biggest break thanks to a mishap at the Bafta awards. They were hosting the live ceremony when a technical fault meant they had to fill in unscripted for some minutes. High-ranking BBC bosses saw their adlibbed performance and immediately signed them up. The Two Ronnies was born.

James Gilbert, producer and director on The Two Ronnies, 93

Shooglenifty frontman Angus Grant was one of Scotland's best known fiddlers.

Died July

Former head of BBC comedy James Gilbert was also responsible for The Frost Report and The Last of the Summer Wine. BBC director-general Tony Hall hailed him as “an absolute giant” in his field. Born in Edinburgh in 1923, Gilbert is credited with bringing together Barker and Corbett for their beloved show after he spotted their comic chemistry while working with them on The Frost Report. He was also behind a string of comedy classics including Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Lord Hall said: “Jimmy was an absolute giant of BBC Comedy and Entertainment, who made millions laugh over so many decades”.

Moira Knox, city councillor, 85

Died August

Bill Kyle of the Jazz Club passed away in late 2016.

Described as Edinburgh’s answer to Mary Whitehouse, she was an outspoken critic of the Fringe’s more risqué acts. But the Tory councillor’s moral outrage often had quite the opposite effect to the one she intended, sending ticket sales through the roof as she became regarded by some performers as a badge of honour. She died just as the 70th Edinburgh Festival was getting under way. Mrs Knox represented Davidson’s Mains in the 1980s and 1990s, becoming one of the best known characters on the city council.

Sam Martinez, Hibs’ oldest fan, 106

Died August

Originally from Belize, the loyal Hibby became a legend in the stands and once told the Evening News that he had never lost hope his team would take home the Scottish Cup before he died. In May, he finally got his wish. He watched Hibs triumph over Rangers from Hampden’s South Stand after bagging a free ticket from big-hearted Hibs bosses. The dad-of-six attended every match at Easter Road until old age eventually caught up with him. But even after he quit the terraces in favour of cheering his team on from the comfort of his living room, he still managed to make it down to his local Ladbrokes to place the odd bet.

Bill Kyle, Jazz Bar owner, 70

Died October

106 year old Sam Martinez passed away but got to see his beloved Hibs win the Scottish Cup.

The jazz enthusiast, who was brought up in Dunfermline, established himself as a well-known drummer in both Glasgow and the Capital before he formed the country’s first fusion band Head in the 1970s. As well as working as a trainer at IBM in Greenock, Bill established Platform, Scotland’s first non-profit jazz organisation which created a touring circuit for visiting and native jazz groups. In 2002, the father opened Edinburgh’s first jazz bar in the Cowgate, The Bridge Jazz Bar, but just seven months later it burnt down. But three years later, he opened up The Jazz Bar in Chambers Street, which has been a success ever since.

Angus R Grant, Shooglenifty, 49

Died October

One of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians passed away just months after his groundbreaking band celebrated their 25th anniversary. Angus Grant was the fiddler and frontman with Edinburgh-based Shooglenifty, who have been one of the country’s most successful folk, Celtic and world music bands.

Bert McFall, athlete, 83

Died January

A very well known, popular and highly respected figure in Scotland’s athletics community. He had a deep and enduring passion for it from childhood days until a hip operation seven years ago brought an end to a long and successful career.

During that time he won medals at district and national level on the track, on the road and over the country, enjoying particular success latterly as a veteran or “masters” athlete.

Bert was accomplished over a wide range of distances, from the mile to half marathon, and represented Edinburgh Southern Harriers – latterly Edinburgh Athletic Club – with distinction.

Robin Spark, artist and son of Muriel, 78

Died August

Although he had a lifelong interest in art, Robin Spark was in his 40s before he began following it as a career path.

An accomplished Israeli artist, Udi Merioz, whose family owned the Blue and White Gallery in Old Jerusalem, studied at Edinburgh College of Art in the late 1970s and became friendly with Robin. He encouraged Robin to pursue his interest in art and advised him on various aspects, including compilation of a portfolio.

That led to Robin following in his mentor’s footsteps and beginning studies in Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh Art College in 1983, graduating four years later.

He was the son of famous writer Muriel Spark and her then husband Sydney Spark, born in the Lady Rodwell Nursing Home in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Owen James Clarke, civil servant, 79

Died July

After a spell in the RAF, he joined the civil service in London, building a career that included becoming an HM Inspector of Taxes, a senior tax investigator and, eventually, Controller of Inland Revenue Scotland. He retired in 1997.

Dr Kate Granger, cancer campaigner, 34

Died July

She launched the #mynameis campaign to help patients’ care become more personal. Ms Granger created the simple campaign to ensure that doctors and healthcare workers introduced themselves to patients undergoing treatment.

Richard Thomas, chair of Boxing Scotland, 45

Died March

A lifelong boxing fan and keen youth boxer himself, Richard joined the sport’s governing body in February 2009 as organisational director at a time when its fortunes were at a low ebb before, in August 2010, he became chairman.

He was brought up in Muirhouse, with brother Michael and sister Louise. His father, Jim, originally from Sierra Leone, suffered a serious leg injury as a youngster. After initial treatment there by a Scottish doctor, Jim travelled to Edinburgh for more treatment, leading to him settling here and later starting a furniture business in Easter Road. Richard attended Drummond Community High School, where he developed a talent for art and drawing.

A boxing enthusiast, he fought a number of contests at youth level as a welterweight for the Leith Victoria and Sparta clubs.

Hamida Mohammed, affectionately known as Mrs Khushi, 82

Died April

Affectionately known as Mrs Khushi, she helped build up the city’s first Indian eatery when she moved here in the late 1940s. The 82-year-old matriarch died just weeks after she was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Scottish Curry Awards for her role in making Khushi’s Indian restaurant in Antigua Street the Edinburgh institution it is today. She was so well respected that around 800 people attended her funeral prayer before her burial at Portobello Cemetery.

Alan Young, world-renowned entertainer who grew up in Edinburgh, 96

Died May

Made his name in a number of hit US shows and films, including Chicken Every Sunday, Margie and Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. The Alan Young Show won two Emmy Awards in 1951 – Best Actor for Young and Best Variety Show for the programme.

David Whitaker, owner of 1978 Grand National winner Lucius, 78

Died March

Owned the Grand National winner Lucius who took first place in a close finish between the leading five horses in 1978. Mr Whitaker, whose daughter Lucy also trains horses, became Perth Racecourse chairman more than 20 years ago and the enterprise is almost unrecognisable from the venture of which he took the helm.

Stevie Hannan, actor, brother of Martin Hannan, 55

Died March

A familiar face due to his appearances on everything from crime hits Taggart and Rebus to Doctor Finlay, he trained at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Despite film credits including California Sunshine and On a Clear Day, his greatest love was the stage – and he was proud of being able to say he had acted in every theatre in Scotland.

Amy Moar, blind harpist who sang for Dalai Lama, 24

Died March

Talented musician and gifted composer who spent much of the second half of last year working with disabled children.

In 2004, she performed in front of the Dalai Lama on his visit to Edinburgh and was later selected to become one of the first ever Developing Potential Trainees for Drake Music Scotland – a leading disability music charity.

She was the first registered blind student to study music at Stevenson College and once sang at London’s O2 Arena

Robert Banks Stewart, known for creating Bergerac and writing episodes of Doctor Who, 84

Died January

Television writer also worked as a producer on shows including The Darling Buds of May, where he is said to have given the final casting vote for Catherine Zeta-Jones to play Pop Larkin’s daughter.

Rev Sandy McDonald, Former Moderator of the Kirk, 78

Died March

Father of Doctor Who star David Tennant, he served as Moderator of the General Assembly from 1997 to 1998. His first church was St David’s in Bathgate in 1968.

Shooglenifty frontman Angus Grant was one of Scotland's best known fiddlers.