THEY were two fit and healthy friends, keen members of a walking group which had helped raise more than £125,000 for charity over three years.
So it came as a huge shock when Ian Stevenson and Kenny Gray both died at the age of 50 from sudden heart attacks within ten days of each other.
Now the pair, who were both married with children, have been remembered during a fundraising walk in their honour.
More than 200 family members and friends took part in the 20-mile walk on Saturday, which raised more than £9000 for charity.
The money will be split between Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland and for charities supporting Crohn’s disease.
Fundraisers also hope to purchase two potentially life-saving defibrillators with the funds.
Plumber Ian, from Pathhead, and heavy plant driver Kenny, from Cockenzie, had been part of a group calling themselves “Scotters” and had taken part in a series of charity walks called Walk With Scott, run by local East Lothian comedian Scott Glynn.
The group had become good friends, with a core group of nine walking every leg of every walk.
Sadly this year, on New Year’s Day, Ian, who had been healthy up to this point, died after suffering a sudden heart attack.
Still mourning the loss of their friend, the group was dealt a further blow when just ten days later, on January 11, Kenny too died from a heart attack.
Fellow “Scotter” and walking friend of the pair, Karen Kidd, 44, said: “Two of our friends died and it was just awful, both fit guys, both 50 and both lovely guys. It was heartbreaking, especially for their families and their children.
“We thought, ‘let’s do something to remember them’ and that’s when we decided to do a memory walk.”
Among those who took part was one of Kenny’s best friends John Bathgate, who took part despite being on portable oxygen.
The group started at Meadowmill in Tranent, walked along to Longniddry, up to Macmerry, through to Pencaitland, Dalkeith then to Musselburgh and back to Cockenzie.
They ended up at Cockenzie RB Legion where they raised a toast to their friends and shared stories of their lives.
Karen said: “Scott Glynn started the walks, supporting five key charities, and as a group we have raised more than £125,000 over three years and won many community awards.
“Everyone got together at the weekend, we even had local dinner ladies making curries.
“It was an amazing day – so special in many ways – a day we’ll all remember.
“As Walk With Scott continues, my family and I are having further fundraising events this weekend in order to purchase two defibrillators for our village.”