Monday 17 July 2017


Our family has been dealing with some difficult news in recent days. My grandfather on my mother's side was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and passed away in his sleep on Wednesday night. I had seen him for the first time in far too long a few weeks ago, but before the diagnosis. He had already been suffering badly with neurological problems and a recent fall that broke his hip. In some ways I'm happier he's no longer suffering because, brave a face as I put on at the time, seeing his frustration and pain was heartbreaking.

I was glad to see him before he went because we were so close especially when I was younger. Grandad was a massive figure in my childhood. Every weekend we would go from Kirkcaldy to Glenrothes. Almost every family holiday, usually in a bloody caravan, he and gran would be with us. If I was playing football, in the back garden or even at primary school when we moved to Aberdeen, he was there (slightly too) enthusiastically willing me on. We played golf (badly). We went to football games, including my first ever visit to Hampden. He got me interested in computing and built my first computer. He supported education in a big part because he left school very early to a fruit and veg stall before joining the Navy (serving in Malta where my mum was born) and had to fight to give his children and grandchildren the very best opportunities he never had. He helped me and my sister go to one of the best schools in the country, to play musical instruments and have lessons. He took me to see PSV Eindhoven's stadium on the only day it didn't rain when we were in Holland. He'd take me to HCS, the Rosyth-based manufacturing business he helped to run, and to Fibrehub in Freuchie, a technology company for whom he had a long association.

Ian Edmiston was a proud, self-made, entrepreneurial man who was fiercely loyal to his family and constantly willing them on to achieve all they could, making substantial personal sacrifices in the process. He wasn't perfect (goodness knows I've acquired some of his more stubborn "personality traits") but I want him to be remembered for the goodness in his heart and his bloodymindedness in the cause of others.

Probably the most embarrassing moment for me with grandad was when, as an 8-year old starting to get into football, I asked him to accompany me in the Aberdeen end at the CIS Insurance Cup final against Celtic in 2000. A lifelong Celtic supporter, grandad applauded the decisive finish in that match, insisting "but it was a good goal!" much to the chagrin of those around us! We left 5 minutes before the end...

It was perhaps fitting, my own footballing loyalties aside, that he should have bowed-out just after Celtic's "Invincibles" went the domestic season undefeated. Football was always my grandad's passion. One of the last things we did together was watch the highlights of the Scotland v England game on my iPad in his hospital room. I saw his face light-up at the sight of Lee Griffiths' two perfectly taken free-kicks, and for a moment at least, it was like his hurt and struggle had dissipated. I promised him if he kept trying with his physio, I would find a way to take him to a football game. I would like to think now that whenever I'm at Firhill he'll be looking down on me from somewhere, somehow, and that he'll still be proud.

I'll miss you, grandad.

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