'A wonderful gentleman' - Edinburgh pays tribute to legendary Edinburgh fundraiser Tom Gilzean who has died aged 99

Tributes have been flooding in following the death of Tom Gilzean on Monday night.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 5:00 pm

Tributes have been paid to an inspirational Edinburgh war veteran and fundraiser, Tom Gilzean, who has died at the age of 99.

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Inspirational Edinburgh war veteran and legendary fundraiser, Tom Gilzean, dies ...

The well-loved figure, known for sporting his tartan trews in iconic locations like Princes Street, would have turned 100 next May.

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Many have called for an Oor Wullie statue of Tom Gilzean to be permanently displayed in Princes Street.

His selfless acts of generosity have seen him become a treasured Edinburgh institution, raising more than a million for charities.

Tom, who died on Monday night following a series of small strokes, will be buried at Mount Vernon in Edinburgh beside his wife Anne who died 19 years ago.

Tom's son, Douglas Gilzean, told the BBC his father "lived his life" collecting for charities and that, when he found himself bed bound after a fall, it may have been that he "just gave up."

Douglas Gilzean said: "We are so immensely proud of him. He was an icon for his charity collecting and nobody in the family will be able to fill his shoes."

His war honours include the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star, the Burma Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, and the Victory Medal.


Many Evening News readers have been paying tribute to Tom Gilzean on social media, with several calling for an Oor Wullie statue in his image to be placed permanently in Princes Street.

Tom's family were outbid when the statue went up for auction, but a local taxi firm stepped in to commission another sculpture.

One reader, Liz Mcgaw, said: "Lets get that oor wullie onto princes st asap. Rest in peace Tom you gave this city so much."

Adam Kerr said: "So sad to hear, a great ambassador of Edinburgh, my condolences to the family rip Tom."

Anne Dunlop said: "A wonderful gentleman, gave so much. It was a pleasure to always have a few words with him. Huge loss for his charities. Rest in Peace Tom."

Sally Knox said: "Such sad news. An Edinburgh legend. Condolences to his family and friends x."

Joyce Milne said: "Such an amazing man. Had many a lovely conversations with him. Bless himxxx."

Jacqui Hood said: "Sooooo sad to read this sad news this morning.

"He was such an inspirational, lovely man-like most folks, spoke to him often.

"His family must be so proud of their dad.

"R.I.P Tom, you deserve a rest."

Anne-Marie Aitken-May said: "Rip.To a gentleman who gave a really good example to all generations.xx."

Jinty Lyons said: "Rest in Peace you absolute legend of a man! This has truly saddened me."

Lorna Allan said: "R.I.P Tom. You will be sorely missed. Thank you for all your fundraising.

"Let’s hope your statue can come home to Princes St, and your family can keep the little one."

Alan Miller said: "Sad news indeed another legend leaves us thoughts with all family and friends rip young man x"

Samantha Glenister said: "Love to Tom's family. This man was a true hero and inspiration."

Beverley Freeman Reid said: "He certainly left his mark on this earth. RIP Tom. You showed us what difference one person can make."

Maggi Pettigrew said: "So sad. Such a kind and generous gentleman. Princes Street is not the same without him."

Ken Johnston said: "Time for Ms Sturgeon to put his name forward for a posthumous Knighthood. R.I.P. Tam, It was a privilege to have known you."

Christopher Black said: "Collects outside my work and I can honestly say that Princes St will be a sadder place without Tom being there.

"A complete gentleman and a modern day hero.

"Sleep easy Tom."

Charlene Lusk said: "Huge loss for Edinburgh and the sick kids. What a man! Always a gentleman and always ready for a chat whilst standing day in/day out fundraising. Sleep tight Tom."