Why we must mark the contribution of a real Edinburgh hero – Angus Robertson

Edinburgh council should agree to name a street after charity fundraiser Tom Gilzean, writes Angus Robertson.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 6:00 am
Tom Gilzean collected more than £1m for charity. Picture: Greg Macvean
Tom Gilzean collected more than £1m for charity. Picture: Greg Macvean

Edinburgh today marks the passing of remarkable 99-year-old fundraising hero Tom Gilzean.

Having collected more than £1 million for charity, he passed away last week at the Erskine veterans residence. Over decades Tom was out in rain, hail and shine to raise funds for Erskine care home and the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. He was one of the most recognisable people in the capital.

Today’s funeral service takes place St Mary’s Cathedral, attended by family, friends and Edinburgh civic leaders. His cortege passes through the city centre, along Princess Street and will stop outside his favourite collecting spot outside Marks & Spencer.

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It is entirely fitting for him to receive such a send-off, including a burial with military honours, pallbearers from the Royal Engineers and the graveside playing of The Last Post at Mount Vernon cemetery.

On Thursday, councillors will consider the excellent suggestion by Lord Provost Frank Ross that a street or area of the city be named after him, or even the new Sick Kids Hospital. More than 4,000 people have signed the Evening News petition backing a street naming.

During his lifetime, Tom received many accolades including the Edinburgh Award and an MBE. It would be entirely fitting for Edinburgh to permanently mark the contribution of a real Edinburgh hero.