A Falkirk musician who recently passed away will be given “the send off he rightfully deserves” following a heartfelt appeal by his devoted friends.
Despite being well known in Langlees and also Bonnybridge, where he previously lived, Robert Stevenson or Boab (58) had no known family members as he was adopted as a baby and was moved away from relatives as a child.
As a result, close friend Kim Lawler decided to arrange and pay for his funeral with the help of her sister, Kerry Anne Singh.
Beauty salon manager Kim said: “To me, Boab was more than a friend. I saw him like an uncle and a mentor. He taught me guitar but never charged me a penny. He did it out of his love for music. He also repaired guitars for people throughout the area.
“He was a very quiet, gentle guy, never spoke about himself much but he was so passionate about his music and so kind to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
Unfortunately, because no next of kin could be traced, Kim was told that Boab was classed as an “intestate” person and as a result his belongings would either be auctioned off or disposed of, depending on their value.
“This was upsetting because the auction was scheduled before Boab had even been laid to rest which I felt was very disrespectful,” said Kim.
“Among his belongings were his precious guitars and possibly some he was in the process of repairing as well as other items of sentimental value.
“I tried my best to stop the auction going ahead but was told by both the Crown Office and Falkirk Council that legally there was nothing that could be done.”
Undeterred, Kim took to social media, pleading for friends and family to put pressure on the authorities to halt proceedings.
Amazingly, long-lost members of Boab’s family saw Kim’s post on Facebook and got in touch.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kim. “Eight cousins in total got in touch, some who actually lived nearby in Grangemouth and Bonnybridge and one from Australia! I was also contacted by Boab’s adopted mum’s brother’s daughter who said the family had lost touch with Boab years ago.
“I felt bad about the circumstances of them finally finding Boab but it is lovely that he will now have family at the funeral to give him the respectful send off he so rightly deserves.
“Boab’s family have since got in touch with the Crown Office and the auction has been cancelled which is a huge relief.
“So many people got in touch to ask how they could help including local councillors Robert Bissett, David Balfour and Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn. I honestly can’t thank everyone enough.
“The power of communities is a truly amazing thing and Boab’s song is not going unsung because the community is now singing it for him.”
Boab’s funeral will take place on Friday, December 7 at 10.45am at Camelon Crematorium.