Tom Gilzean could have Edinburgh street named after him by next summer

Council's latest honour will disregard the normal rules

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 9:47 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 3:25 pm

OLD soldier and legendary charity collector Tom Gilzean could have a street named after him by next summer.

Tom, 99, who died on November 4 following a series of small strokes, raised over £1 million by rattling his can on Princes Street and other city-centre locations.

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Watch as hundreds of mourners applaud Tom Gilzean as funeral cortege passes M&S ...

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Tom Gilzean was a familiar face as he rattled his can in the city centre

Councillors unanimously backed a motion put forward by Lord Provost Frank Ross at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, agreeing a street should be named after Tom.

The normal rule which requires a five-year gap between someone’s death and a street being named after them, is now expected to be waived.

And today depute council leader Cammy Day said he hoped an appropriate street would be named within the year.

He said: “I’m really pleased this motion was passed unanimously. Tom was a well kent face in Edinburgh and raised hundreds of thousands for charity. We had a minute’s silence for him on Thursday as well as agreeing the motion.

Over the years Tom raised an incredible 1 million for charity

“Naming a street after him shows the respect the city has for him. Normally there is this five-year rule, but Tom’s case is an exception.

“I hope by summer next year we have a street called Gilzean Park or Gilzean Road or whatever.

“The city has huge housing developments going on and I’m sure there is ample opportunity for us to choose an appropriate street to bear his name.”

It won’t be the first honour Tom has had for his dedicated charity work.

In 2015 he received the Edinburgh Award and in June this year he was given an MBE for his services.

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 the Second World War 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’s fundraising efforts provided much-needed cash for causes such as the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and the Erskine care home for veterans.

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets on Tuesday to pay tribute to Tom as his funeral cortege passed on its way to St Mary’s RC Cathedral.

The council keeps a bank of hundreds of potential street names, reflecting local history, noteworthy individuals, cultural diversity, neighhbourhood identity and native wildlife.

And a recent change in policy means women’s names are given priority over men’s where possible.

Up to 100 names are needed each year because of all the housing developments around the city.

Developers can ask the council for appropriate names to be used in new housing schemes.