Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Tom Gilzean: Book of condolence opens for renowned fundraiser

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Media captionTom Gilzean spoke to the BBC a few years ago about his brother who was killed in the war

A book of condolence has been opened at Edinburgh City Chambers for prolific fundraiser Tom Gilzean who died at 99.

The war veteran turned charity icon who raised £1m for good causes was regularly seen with his collecting tin and trademark tartan trousers on Princes Street and the Royal Mile.

Lord Provost Frank Ross and his son Douglas Gilzean were the first to sign the book.

Anyone can sign the book which is in the main reception.

Douglas Gilzean, 68, from Livingston, told BBC Scotland he was overwhelmed when he heard about the book of condolence for his father.

He said: "The last time a book of condolence was opened by Edinburgh Council it was for Nelson Mandela, so I am totally amazed and delighted for my father.

"I can't believe it and it shows how highly regarded he was, which we are only now beginning to realise quite by how much.

"Everyone has been so kind."

Meanwhile Inverleith councillor Gavin Barrie said he would put a motion to full council for a street or building to be named after the renowned charity fundraiser.

Image caption Lord Provost Frank Ross signs the book of condolence

He said: "The procedure is never to name a street after a living person and to wait five years after their death but there have been exceptions and Tom Gilzean in my opinion is an exception.

"When the Sick Kids Hospital moves to Little France and the old building is redeveloped it could be named after Tom or one of the streets out at Little France could have his name appended to it.

"He did great things and meets all the criteria in our charter so I think we should move to do this as quickly as possible so he can be remembered forever in Edinburgh."

Mr Gilzean died in veterans' hospital Erskine House in the capital on Monday night following a series of small strokes.

His family told BBC Scotland he died still wanting to collect money for charity. He would have been 100 next May.

Mr Ross said: "Everyone is welcome to sign the book to pay their respects and, of course, to leave a donation for the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity.

"The flood of tributes for Tom from local people has been tremendous.

"There are lots of people who would love to see his memory live on in some way or another in the capital and we always encourage people to come forward with proposals to be considered by the council."

Mr Gilzean collected for the Children's Hospital Charity, which now has a JustGiving page that has collected £500 since he died.

Image copyright Tabby Blades/Edinburgh Children’s Hospital
Image caption Tom Gilzean with his Oor Wullie statue in Edinburgh's Princes Street

Mr Gilzean was honoured with an Oor Wullie statue in his image, as part of the Our Wullie Bucket Trail this summer.

He was outbid when the statue went up for auction, but a local taxi firm stepped in to commission another sculpture.

Mr Gilzean received the Edinburgh Award in 2015 and an MBE earlier this year for his prolific charity work.

A bus driver for Lothian Buses he also served with the Royal Engineers from 1938 to 1946 as a despatch rider and in mine clearance.

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