‘Everyone welcome’ at funeral of fundraising hero Tom Gilzean

Veteran and fundraiser Tom Gilzean, who has died aged 99.
Veteran and fundraiser Tom Gilzean, who has died aged 99.

War veteran and fundraising hero Tom Gilzean, who has died aged 99, is to be buried in a tartan coffin.

Details of his funeral have been released by his son, who said everyone was welcome to attend his father’s final farewell, adding “the more the merrier”.

Mr Gilzean raised more than £1m for good causes and was a well-loved figure in Edinburgh who collected for charity on Princes Street and the Royal Mile, always in his trademark tartan trousers.

His funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday, November 19 at 12.45pm before his burial at Mount Vernon.

Mr Gilzean’s son, Douglas, (68), said he was overwhelmed by people’s good wishes following his father’s death.

He said: “I couldn’t believe when the funeral director said he wanted to help make his funeral special by making him a tartan coffin because he always wore tartan trousers.

“His casket also has a big thistle at the bottom and we will drape his regimental flag across the middle, but making sure his special tartan coffin can be seen.

“Everyone is welcome to come to all parts of his funeral as that’s what he would have wanted, the more the merrier.”

Earlier this week, a book of condolence was opened for Mr Gilzean at Edinburgh City Chambers, the first one Edinburgh Council has opened since the death of Nelson Mandela.

Mr Gilzean, who drove for Lothian Buses and served with the Royal Engineers from 1938 to 1946, received the Edinburgh Award in 2015 and an MBE earlier this year for his charity work.

He died in veterans’ hospital Erskine House in the capital following a series of small strokes.