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War veteran who raised £1m for sick children dies aged 99

Tom Gilzean was well known for collecting cash while dressed in tartan in Edinburgh.

Tom Gilzean was a popular face on Princes Street. STV

A 99-year-old war veteran who raised more than £1m for sick children in Edinburgh has died.

Tom Gilzean was well known for shaking his collection tin while dressed in tartan on Princes Street.

He died at Erskine House veterans’ hospital on Monday night, his son Douglas told the BBC.

An appreciation society in his name posted on Facebook: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our Tom.

“His family would like to thank you all for your support of Tom over the years. RIP Tom. You will never be forgotten.”

Mr Gilzean was awarded an MBE for his prolific charity fundraising and received the capital’s highest civic medal, the Edinburgh Award, in 2014.

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Frank Ross said: “Tom was the star of the Royal Mile and Princes Street.

“Nothing would stop him going above and beyond to raise fantastic amounts of money for charity.

“Come rain or come shine, good health and bad, there Tom would be wearing his trademark tartan trousers, selflessly shaking his tin.”

He added: “He really was an astounding veteran. Please wear your poppies with pride this week. Let’s do it for Tam.”

Tom had an ‘Oor Wullie’ statue sculpted in his honour.

The former bus driver, a father of two, served his with the Royal Engineers during the Second World War.

An ‘Oor Wullie’ statue was created in his honour during a recent fundraising campaign for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital.

Roslyn Neely, chief executive of the hospital’s charity, said: “We are so very sorry to hear the news about Tom Gilzean.

“He was an exceptional and inspirational ambassador of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity who dedicated his life to raising funds and awareness for worthy causes.

“Thanks to Tom, the lives of thousands of babies, children, young people and their families in hospital have been transformed – an incredible legacy for a man who was truly one of a kind.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. We will be forever grateful for his support and for inspiring kindness in so many others.”


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