Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Tom Gilzean: Prolific charity fundraiser to receive MBE posthumously

Maureen Gilzean, Gina Clarke, Douglas Gilzean and Tom Gilzean Image copyright Gina Clarke
Image caption Tom Gilzean with his son, Douglas, daughter, Maureen and daughter-in-law, Gina in 2011

The son and daughter of a war veteran turned charity icon who raised £1m for good causes in Edinburgh will collect his MBE posthumously.

Tom Gilzean was regularly seen with his collecting tin and trademark tartan trousers on Princes Street and the Royal Mile.

He died in veterans' hospital Erskine House in the capital on 4 November following a series of small strokes.

It will be presented by Lord Lieutenant Frank Ross at Edinburgh City Chambers.

He died just months before his 100th birthday on 12 May and knowing he had an MBE.

Image copyright Gina Clarke
Image caption Tom Gilzean in earlier days

His son Douglas Gilzean, 68, told BBC Scotland, his father had been unable to travel to Buckingham Palace in the summer to collect his MBE because he had two broken hips.

He said: "We phoned the palace a few times because he was anxious to get it before he died and they said it would be no problem to arrange for it to be presented to him locally but unfortunately he did pass away before it could be arranged.

"He was hoping to receive it before he died because he knew any publicity meant he got more money for his charities the next day when he was out with his tins.

"It is sad for the family that he is not getting it himself but we are still very happy he is still getting it posthumously and are immensely proud."

Children's hospital

Mr Gilzean added that he had continued to fundraise for his father's charity, the Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity, and had reached £10,000 since his death.

The whole family and close friends from a local restaurant where he would eat lunch every day will be at the ceremony at 17:00 with daughter Maureen, 72, and son Douglas going up to receive the award.

Mr Gilzean received the Edinburgh Award in 2015 and his MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list in 2019.

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.

He was buried at Mount Vernon in Edinburgh beside his late wife Anne in November.

Clydesdale Bank is holding an open day at its George Street branch on his birthday on 12 May when he would have been 100. It is the branch where Mr Gilzean would deposit his charity tins.

Image caption Mr Gilzean received the Edinburgh Award in 2015 and his MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list in 2019

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