Lord Provost's garden party to toast Edinburgh fundraiser

GUESTS at the Lord Provost's garden party will be asked to fill the boots of stricken fundraising legend Tom Gilzean.

Tom Gilzean collecting on the Royal Mile. Picture: Greg Macvean
Tom Gilzean collecting on the Royal Mile. Picture: Greg Macvean

The 95-year-old – always seen shaking his charity tin in full tartan regalia in the city centre – is out of action following a freak accident.

He was invited to attend the annual party, which takes place at Lauriston Castle on Friday, where a collection for good causes such as the Sick Kids Friends Foundation will take place in his honour.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said he was saddened to learn that Tom – who suffered a broken back, neck and shoulder after falling down a flight of stairs at his flat in May – wouldn’t be making an appearance.

He said: “We are all wishing Tom a speedy recovery and we’ll miss him on Friday.

“The Royal Mile is a much quieter place when he’s not out there shaking his tin raising money for charity, so we’ll shake one for him at the community garden party.

“It’s a small gesture for a man with a big heart, but I hope it goes some way to make up for the donations he’s missed out on during his hospital stay.

“I feel passionately that those who make a special contribution to community life through volunteering and charity deserve local recognition for their efforts. I am looking forward to thanking them on behalf of the city.”

Councillor Wilson said the party was a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who work tirelessly to make the city a better place.

A number of charities and volunteers will be rewarded for their efforts, with Broomhouse-based The BIG Project to be presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The organisation was set up in 2002 and provides support and services for children and young people in the area aged five to 16. Project leader Sascha Macleod was keen to recognise the contribution of her team of volunteers.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be presented with this award, which represents a tremendous achievement for The BIG Project and the community of Broomhouse,” she said.

“Everyone involved, and in particular the volunteers who are integral to the success of the project, is immensely proud of the recognition this award brings.”

Other attendees will include businessman Sir Tom Farmer, charity fundraiser Lynne McNicoll and the manager of sandwich shop Social Bite.

City councillors, who have been asked to nominate community champions from their own wards, will also be joined by dedicated workers from the city’s third sector, Edinburgh’s British Empire medallists and local philanthropists.

In total, more than 500 guests will attend the event – which is being sponsored by Virgin Money – where they’ll enjoy afternoon tea on the lawn before performances from Edinburgh choir group The Aw Blacks, Chinese opera singers and pipe bands.

Evening News favourite the Edinburgh Sketcher will draw live from the event, while the Lauriston Castle Living History Group, suitably costumed in Edwardian dress, will lead tours of the attraction.