Football club pay tribute to Ellon man

Dunfermline FC director Jim Leishman leads tributes at the graveside.
Dunfermline FC director Jim Leishman leads tributes at the graveside.
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A Fife football club have won hearts and minds in Ellon with a touching gesture.

Dunfermline FC last weekend paid tribute to a young football player from the town who died while running a half-marathon more than 25 years ago.

Gary Riddell's grave at Ellon Cemetery.

Gary Riddell's grave at Ellon Cemetery.

Ellon-born Gary Riddell was remembered by officials, directors and fans of the club at a poignant, wreath-laying ceremony at the town’s cemetery on Saturday.

It took place when the Dunfermline team stopped off on their way to play Peterhead in a Scottish League One game at Balmoor Park.

Tributes at the graveside on the 25th anniversary were led by director Jim Leishman, who was manager when Gary was at East End Park.

Pars director Billy Braisby also paid tribute to the popular central defender, who played for the Fife club for two seasons before he collapsed and died on June 11, 1989.

He was taking part in the Dunfermline Half Marathon to raise money for the Hillsborough disaster, which had taken place two months earlier. Gary was 22.

Mr Braisby, whose father Bill was a former club director and vice-chairman, said: “Gary was a very special young man who is still recalled fondly by supporters at the club.”

Gary’s parents, Kathleen and Edwin, were present at the simple, but moving ceremony which took place at noon.

Mr Riddell said: “This is a wonderful tribute by a club Gary loved playing for.

“They have proved they are very much part of the community.

“My wife and I are deeply touched by their kindness and thoughtfulness.”

Gary was remembered in Ellon as a sportsman of great ability, including his prowess as first class golfer, but most of all he was recalled as a thoroughly decent young man who was taken from the community so tragically in his prime at the tender age of only 22.